The reintegration process after burnout: how to support your employees

Kim Erich
March 27, 2024

An employee dropping out due to burnout can happen at any time. After time has passed, this employee, in consultation with the company doctor, has decided he or she wants to return to work. But how does a reintegration process start? How can you best support your employee(s) in this process? And what are the risks of insufficient support and understanding? In this new blog, I answer these questions. Enjoy reading further!

Activities that give energy

The process of reintegration after burnout begins with recognizing the need for self-care and recovery. It is (unfortunately) not just a matter of taking rest; it is also about identifying activities that give energy and restoring the employee's energy balance.

Thus, an important aspect of the reintegration process is to recognize and apply these activities that energize the employee. This can sometimes be confusing for managers when they get signals that an employee seems to be engaged in "enjoyable" activities that are not directly related to work. However, these activities are very important to the recovery process as they help build resilience and restore the energy balance.

The reintegration plan: small steps

Creating a reintegration plan is important for a successful return to work. An effective reintegration plan involves taking small steps and providing appropriate guidance. Start by setting realistic goals and expectations and encourage the employee to set their boundaries. Regular "check-ins" with the employee are necessary to monitor progress and make any adjustments to the plan as needed. For example, if it appears that Plan A is still asking a little too much of the employee, then you take an extra step back. In your conversations with the employee, regularly ask what activities give them the most energy. Of course, every job sometimes requires (small) tasks that give less energy, but don't let the employee start doing that too much during this period. An employee may associate the workplace with the period of them getting burned out, so it is good to let the workplace become a pleasant environment again first.

Risks of insufficient support and understanding

Ignoring the employee's needs during the reintegration process and asking too much of the employee at once can have serious consequences. It can lead to further dropout/relapse and even long-term damage to the employee's health. Therefore, it is very important that you as a manager show understanding of this process and provide the right support to promote recovery. This means moving along with and listening to the needs of the employee and not forcing anything.

As a manager, you therefore carry a great responsibility for the well-being of your employees. By taking the reintegration process seriously and offering the right support, you can contribute to the recovery and well-being of your team!

Written by
Kim Erich

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