OT Strategies and Coaching Help Prevent Employee BurnoutOct 07, 2022
October is National Occupational Therapy Month, so throughout the month we are highlighting Occupational Therapists and the work they do. Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 2nd to 8th and World Mental Health Day is October 10th. With this success story, we reflect on how OTs can help employees with mental health and productivity at work.
Occupational Therapists help employees transform their lives every day. Read our Success Stories to learn how we have enabled employees across thousands of organizations to achieve better health and productivity.
Employee with Potential at Risk of Burnout
Simon* was a young employee trying to make his mark in the workplace, and in doing so, was at risk of burnout and psychological impairment. He was working very long hours, not sleeping well, and had symptoms of anxiety and depression while his performance at work was becoming inconsistent. He had been viewed as an employee with great potential and his managers and disability coordinators also recognized that he was struggling.
Recognizing Unhealthy Habits and Having Challenging Conversations
The Occupational Therapist was able to help Simon recognize the unhealthy work habits he had adopted and encouraged him to focus on his own well-being and self-care. The OT also coached the employee through challenging conversations with his manager to consider changes to his workload that would allow for more realistic expectations of his time and energy. They reviewed his work habits, his schedule, and how he was organizing his priorities and structuring his day.
The OT program involved the following techniques:
- introduction of mindfulness skills
- introduction of healthy self-care habits, including sleep hygiene and value of exercise in managing mental health
- assertiveness communication skills
- psychoeducation such as Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- strategies to manage prioritization and concentration
Where the Employee Is Now
Through OT treatment, Simon was able to successfully transition to an alternate portfolio at work, started going to the gym, and started taking micro-breaks during the day. He was able to look at where work fit into his life and create some boundaries for himself. At this point, he is doing well, and his function and productivity have improved while his overall levels of anxiety and depression have improved significantly. Most importantly, Simon's quality of life, sense of fulfillment, and hope for a career improved dramatically.
*Note that all names and other personal identifiers have been changed to protect the identity of the employee.
If you or one of your employees is experiencing burnout, learn more about our mental health services, book a consultation, or contact us to see how an Occupational Therapist can help.