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Survey: Worker burnout down slightly, but still high


Photo: FG Trade/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA — Burnout among U.S. workers remains high, but is trending downward since the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey show. However, researchers caution that the “current wave of employee layoffs could trigger an uptick.”

On behalf of management consulting firm Eagle Hill Consulting, market research company Ipsos surveyed a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. workers in February. Forty-six percent of the workers said they’re burned out – down from 49% last year and 58% in August 2020.

Workload was cited as the top cause of burnout (52%), followed by staffing shortages (44%), balancing work and personal life (41%), lack of communication and support (39%), and time pressures (38%).

“We know that staffing shortages have been a major source of worker burnout,” Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, said in a press release. “In fact, we asked employees how staff shortages impact their workload, and 83% of workers said it’s covering the workload for unfilled positions. That number could rise in the coming months given that layoffs often create more work for those who remain on the job.”

When asked about ways to reduce burnout, 71% of the workers suggested a four-day workweek, while around two-thirds called for increased flexibility (66%), decreased workloads (65%), and better health and wellness benefits (60%).

Other findings:

  • Additional impacts that staffing shortages are having on the respondents’ workloads include having to train new hires (39%), helping others learn their job (37%) and recruiting/interviewing new hires (28%).
  • Younger workers (51%) and women (48%) were most likely to report being burned out.
  • Despite potential layoffs and economic uncertainty, 30% of the workers said they plan to leave their job in the next 12 months.

“Employers should not be complacent in addressing employee burnout,” Jezior said. “Nearly half of the workforce reports burnout, and that is far too high for organizations that seek optimal performance and retention of their top talent. When employees are tired and stressed, you can bet they’ll underperform or look for another job.”

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