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Sander Kalmus

  • Faculty of Design
  • Inter­action Design
  • MA
  • Preventing burnout through starting a discussion
  • Tutor: Annika Bengts

The number of people burning out is increasingly growing. The phenomenon associated with the burnout is lack of understanding and knowledge. As the symptoms of burnout are difficult to detect, preventing burnout requires collaborative and interactive actions. This study focused on the identification of burnout, aiming to create a solution to prevent it and make the issues visible for both, the employer and employee.

A constructive research methodology with Double Diamond approach was used. Several data collection methods were
implemented which supported the Discover and Development phases. In Discover phase 10 users and 4 experts were interviewed using theoretical sampling. First, in Development phase, a probe experiment with 5 employees and 1 manager was conducted. Second, an experiment with 2 teams was held to validate and get further insights for the design phase.

Through the research I found out that burnout is an occupational phenomenon and the best way to prevent it, was to intervene on organizational level. I discovered that one way to prevent burnout was to make work related stress more visible for the manager.

The outcome of this master’s project is a solution that offers a way to start a discussion within teams by creating a dedicated space for employees to express their struggles, issues, and ideas. This provides the manager an overview on the state of stress in the team. The responsibility of the manager is to choose focus for the discussion whereas the responsibility of the employee is to be an active participator. The responsibilities of the solution cover the facilitation of onboarding the manager, setting up a dedicated channel, providing good questions and offering takeaways from the discussion. The presented solution offers means to achieve better understanding of the state of the team.

A screenshot from Wired where the Bot offers some take-aways form the discussion for the manager

Link to the final design concept