5 Ways to Be Indispensable at Work Without Burning Out

Career Enrichment, Mental Health, Physical Health, Reducing Stress
11/17/20 - Rhonda Martinez

It’s difficult to feel secure or safe in the modern job environment. It’s also really difficult trying to be indispensable without burning out at work. For many employees, job security is one of their main concerns, and many people are afraid that they may get laid off without warning. Businesses from different industries outsource their workforce more and more often, trying to minimize their expenses. This also contributes to creating an unsafe work environment where employees are afraid of losing their jobs at any moment.

There’s no surprise that determined and well-motivated employees want to become indispensable members of their teams so that the employer won’t consider replacing them with anyone else. Besides, getting recognition from your boss is nice. Everyone likes to be appreciated and to see that their hard work is recognized by others. Working hard is great, but if you work too hard, your physical and emotional well-being can be damaged, and the disadvantages of hard work might overweigh the benefits.

Even employees who demonstrate the best performance often experience problems related to overworking. In fact, high-performing employees are 2.2 times more likely to experience burnout. Various success stories from the tech industry, where people have insane schedules and work all the time, motivate many employees to work more, and to work harder. However, such an approach often leads to burnout and other problems, without helping these employees accomplish their career goals.

A stressed guy holding his face with both hands

On the one hand, if you’re a dedicated employee, you may want to make a significant contribution and to add more value. On the other hand, you won’t be able to succeed long term if your work undermines your well-being, and you won’t be able to maintain your peak performance all the time, without experiencing burnout. Here are some tips that might help you become indispensable at work without burning out.

Think Before You Agree

Indispensable employees are always busy. However, there’s a big difference between being busy and being overloaded. If you want to impress others with your productivity, you may quickly agree to anything and take on more responsibilities than you can actually handle. It’s great if you want to contribute to the business’s goals, but it’s also important to be realistic about your capabilities.

Ash Rogers, content writer and reviewer at LegitWritingServices has a point: “When your manager is looking for someone who can take on an extra task or when you see a new project on your desk, take your time and think of your motivation. Why should you say yes?. Perhaps, you don’t want to let others down, or maybe, you want to please your boss. You may also want to do this work yourself because you don’t trust other employees. Anyway, if you analyze your motivation, it will be much easier for you to say no.”

Don’t be afraid to talk to your manager. Sometimes, your manager may know if they ask too much of you. Still, they may also be too busy and just forget how busy you are. Keep in mind that one of the main functions of managers is to support employees. Supportive managers will understand why you don’t want to take on another project and will even help you navigate managing your load.

Deliver Unique Value

The only irreplaceable people are those who can make a unique contribution. In business terms, it means that if you want to be irreplaceable, you need to develop your unique selling proposition. It’s something nobody else will do as well as you. For example, it can be a unique skill or combination of skills, both soft and hard.

For instance, a salesperson can develop emotional intelligence skills to sense, understand and influence the emotions of buyers. Employees with high emotional quotient do not allow their emotions to dictate their actions. Therefore, an emotional intelligence is something that can make you a good boss or irreplaceable employee, if combined with great professional skills.

You can possess a valuable skill that goes beyond your typical responsibilities, or you can combine skills necessary for your position with additional skills. If you perform a task that no one else can complete, make sure that only you know how to do it. Besides, don’t be afraid to advertise your unique skills. However, this doesn’t mean that you should do everything yourself. Learn to delegate responsibilities and don’t be afraid to hand over your authority to be indispensable and reduce burning out. Otherwise you won’t be able to grow as a professional.

Adopt the Middle-Ground Approach

Many people think that, when they cannot say no, the only other option is to say yes. Therefore, you may find yourself agreeing to take on some work that you know will make you feel exhausted. However, if you want to be useful for your organization, you shouldn’t be tired or overly stressed. According to statistics, stressed and overworked employees lose 550 million workdays every year.

You can avoid the negative consequences of overworking for your health and your organization’s budget by adopting a middle-ground approach. There are many ways for you to make a contribution without doing all the work yourself. For example, if your manager asks you to work on tasks you don’t have time for, you can offer to provide support to those who will work on it. You can also work on another task that will take less of your time.

Build Relationships

Your relationships with your colleagues are no less important than your skills and the contribution that you make. Building the right connections and developing strong relationships with colleagues can not only make you indispensable at work without burning out, but also help your career growth.

A woman and a man working and laughing over a cup of coffee

To improve your relationships with others, listen to them, and share your time with them. We also recommend that you provide valuable feedback, without criticizing, and take feedback easily. Work on your communicative skills, and your career will certainly benefit from them.

Save Your Company Money

Always look for opportunities to save your employer money. People who save money are always a valuable asset for any company. For example, if your company is going to upgrade the hardware, you can find a cheaper alternative. You may also come up with methods that enable your organization to cut operational costs.

Cutting the costs on things is easy, and sometimes we simply ignore the fact that we’re overpaying for something. Especially if we’re not spending our own money, but the money of an organization that we work for. If you manage to save your boss money without being asked for it, you may become one of the most trustworthy and valuable employees.

Wrapping Up

If you want to become an irreplaceable employee, you may think that you just need to work harder. On the one hand, you need to work hard if you want to make a contribution and to be appreciated. On the other hand, it’s also important to be realistic about your capabilities so that you can be indispensable without burning out. We recommend that you not only work hard but also work smart.

Rhonda Martinez

Rhonda Martinez is a freelance writer and content editor. Before switching to remote work, Rhonda spent one decade working in an office, so the burnout is something that she has experienced herself. Rhonda enjoys improving her writing skills, that’s why she prefers to read in her spare time and write about anything that interests her.

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