Survey: Workers Are Getting More Burned Out

Drowning in work and feeling drained? Many professionals are, new research from global staffing firm Robert Half shows. More than one-third of workers surveyed (34%) said they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago. Of those respondents, 30% pointed to having a fuller plate at work as the top reason for rising levels of fatigue.

Another 45% of professionals noted they are as burned out now as they were 12 months ago, and 21% reported a drop in burnout.

Additional Findings:

  • Among the 28 U.S. cities in the survey, Indianapolis (46%), Dallas and Raleigh (43% each) have the highest percentages of workers who noted increased burnout from a year ago.
  • Women (38%) were more likely than men (30%) to report a rise in burnout.
  • Nearly an equal percentage of respondents with children in their household (35%) and those without (33%) said they are more worn out from work today versus 12 months ago.
  • More employees ages 25 to 40 (37%) than those ages 41 to 54 (32%) and 55 and older (29%) said they are experiencing a higher degree of burnout.

“The pandemic has piled on new pressures for professionals, many of whom are juggling job and personal needs while working from home,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “In many cases, employees have also absorbed responsibilities of laid-off and furloughed colleagues and feel they must get more done in a day. But working in overdrive is not healthy or sustainable, particularly as we continue to navigate the changing business landscape.”

Concerns Over Employee Burnout
In a separate survey, 88% of senior managers revealed they are worried about staff retention. Of those respondents, 47% said the reason for their concern is that employees are managing heavy workloads and on the brink of burnout. McDonald added, “Just as employees have been putting in more time and energy into their jobs, employers must do more to support, engage and reward top performers in today’s demanding environment.”

Robert Half offers three tips for helping managers prevent staff burnout:

  1. Prioritize ruthlessly. Check in regularly with team members to discuss current projects and obstacles. Help them focus on critical business tasks, and bring in temporary professionals to assist, if possible.
  2. Encourage time off. Busy employees may be reluctant to take a break. Support — and model — work-life balance by reminding staff to use their vacation days and managing your own time effectively.
  3. Share helpful resources. Promote company-provided wellness offerings, and pass along information about free classes and programs that support a healthier lifestyle.

About the Research
The online surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms from July 7 to August 9, 2020. They include responses from 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older and normally employed in office environments and more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in 28 major U.S. cities.


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