Brownout Among Employees

Work Presenteeism
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Best Practices
Aniket Deolikar
Consultant, India

Brownout Among Employees

What is a Brownout of an Employee?
Originally the term "brownout" comes from the energy industry, where it means a sudden drop in voltage of energy. In a management context "brownout" means a similar condition in case of an employee. An employee who suffers brownout faces a serious drop in their energy levels and feels demotivated to do the work. There is a complete lack of interest in doing the work. One might say in simple terms that a brownout is an early stage of a burnout.

Signs or Symptoms of Burnout of Employees:
  • Employees are working late hours, but show no interest in work.
  • Employees are less productive in meetings.
  • Employees suffer physically, they are getting less sleep and are eating junk food.
  • Employees are doing same repetitive work for a long time.
A brownout can be reversed if it is acted upon as early as possible. The above symptoms will help you identify the employees suffering from brownout and take action accordingly.
Creating an employee wellness program for your top employees is essential to tackle problems such as burnout and brownout. Doing this will ensure employees' physical health as well as mental health.
Even though a brownout is not considered as severe as a burnout, it is not something that can be ignored. In a survey conducted by a US firm, it was found that 5% of the people suffer from burnout while 40% of them suffered from brownout.

How to reduce the Number of Brownouts?
  • Star employees are the ones who are not looking to clock in and clock out kind of work. They are looking for work which will challenge them and improve their skills. You may ask them questions such as which projects do you think will challenge you and thus giving them a new enthusiasm for working.
  • Rewarding the employees for their efforts and encouraging them to think out of the box will also reduce brownout as it increases their enthusiasm.
  • Providing the employees with formal training and online courses which will benefit them and which they are interested in will keep them motivated to work. It will ensure the personal development of employees and also benefit the organization.
3M allowed their employees 15% of their paid time to work on innovative ideas which they can think of. This practice at 3M created a very creative and innovative environment and thus a huge step towards reducing brownout levels.
"Brownout the Stage before Vurnout" (20170, Mensura.
"Don't Lose Your Top Employees Because of Brownout" (2017), Entrepreneur.


Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

Internal Capacity Building to Prevent Brownout

Do you agree we all have different layers in personality? For example the physical, intellectual, ne... Sign up

Aniket Deolikar
Consultant, India

Employee May be Unaware of Brownout

@Srinivas: Truly said Srinivas, but during a brownout people might sometimes not even know that the... Sign up

Prashant Dhodapkar

Brownout or Disengagement?

I tend to agree with Srinivas, since our emotions associated with the workplace experiences tend to ... Sign up

Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Reasons for Brownout are Often in the Management

People have a tendency to think a brownout or burnout is caused by the employee. He or she is 'ill',... Sign up


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