Dealing With Burnout In PR

dealing with burnout in PR

Dealing With Burnout In PR

Dealing With Burnout In PR


The big myth around burnout is that a good rest will do the trick. Sadly, that’s not the case. As we saw in my previous piece, burnout can result in loss of engagement, reduced productivity and creative thinking. There may also be an increase in absences, and even staff moving on. It is something that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet.

I tend to apply the Human Givens approach to burnout, where we focus on getting needs met in the workplace. Looking at the environment and the work is a great place to start. It’s also one over which we have some sense of control. The foundation of the Human Givens is that we have nine emotional needs. I am going to discuss three of them and how they apply to PR and comms here.


Everyone needs to feel a sense of achievement. It’s vital for our self-esteem and mental health. Without it, we can feel unstretched and even bored. Keeping early years PR practitioners or comms apprentices doing daily grunt work may take the boring stuff on your hands, but is a perfect recipe for creating dissatisfaction.

Conversely, if we have too much pressure on us to achieve, we may feel overwhelmed. This can be overly high KPIs, or juggling too many clients or tasks. Whilst most of us can cope with these for a while, keeping up this type of pressure for too long leads to chronic stress and ideal conditions for burnout.

Beware of placing too much stress on yourself too. This may be because you want to show eagerness, or that you get your sense of purpose through doing. Instead, celebrate achievements, acknowledging the hard work that went into thew, as well as the end result.


Feeling that you are seen and heard is an important part of feeling accepted and valued. If this is not the case, we can get frustrated or even doubt that our presence matters. We will eventually stop putting ideas forward and withdraw into ourselves. Likewise, if we or someone else is dominating conversations and not letting others shine, it may that their status is too high in the team, at the expense of others. Cultivating a place where everyone feels they can share ideas, concerns and even personal things and know they will be heard and addressed is vital. Without it, someone might be a step closer to burning out.


Autonomy in our work is a strong emotional need. If we feel watched, micro-managed and distrusted, we are going to feel stressed. We will then be at a higher risk of burnout. What can we do to help create that sense of control? Asking someone to job design can help, where they input what they enjoy working on, or would like more experience with.  We can also create very specific instructions and leave them to get on with it, knowing that you are at hand if needed. Knowing learning styles can also help. Perhaps they like to learn by having a go, and you just need to let them make some mistakes to “get it.” Or maybe they like to be hand-held until they are ready and confident. What helps them feel more in control – having you put everything in writing in an email so that they are able to get to it when they are ready. Or perhaps they are fine with a casual “can you..”

Dealing with burnout in PR

The theme behind all these is knowing our staff.  However, each team member has a responsibility to know themselves and communicate what they need. This is where we begin with our work around burnout in PR. If you’re crrious about knowing about them can help prevent burnout, book a chat, or contact me to discuss a training session.



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