Companies Are Struggling to Help Workers Combat Burnout

Shot of a stressed out young woman working in a demanding career.
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In September, 4.4 million workers resigned from their jobs, according to Department of Labor statistics. Between January and October 2021, a record 39 million employees resigned.

See: The Great Resignation: Which States Have Been Hit the Hardest — And Which Have Not
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A Gallup poll recently revealed that the length of the average American workday has increased by 1.4 hours over the past two decades. But it’s more than those extra seven hours of work a week that have made the modern workplace virtually intolerable for many employees and caused worker burnout at record rates.

As workdays got longer, worker stress, worry, and burnout also increased in recent years. A Gallup poll found that, in 2016, 23% of workers reported feeling burned out “very often,” or “always.” By 2019, that number rose to 28%. But, WSJ reported, 46% of workers reported feeling “stressed” in 2019 and 38% said they felt “worry.” In March 2020, those numbers spiked to 60% and 58%.

The pandemic has brought about many changes, including a self-awareness that has caused people to focus on their mental health. A survey from insurance company MetLife and reported by the Wall Street Journal discovered that, pre-pandemic, 60% of employees said they thought they should handle mental health without employer assistance. By June 2021, 62% said they “believed their employer had a responsibility for their mental well-being,” WSJ reported.

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What Employers Are Doing to Help

While employees believe their companies have some responsibility for their mental wellness, employers are willingly taking on that burden to a degree. Desperate to improve retention, reduce sick time, and increase productivity, employers are offering flexible hours, sabbaticals and meeting-free days to allow workers to focus on head-down tasks that may require concentration and creativity.

However, one thing that’s harder to address or solve is the overriding problem of increasing workloads and fewer workers to complete the tasks.

“If you take a vacation and come back to the same work circumstances, it doesn’t solve the problem. It might upset you more,” Ben Wigert, a research director at Gallup, told WSJ.

“It’s this constant game of resource whack-a-mole,” David Heath, CEO of online sock brand Bombas LLC told WSJ.

What to Do If You’re Facing Burnout

If you’re facing burnout, especially coming off this stressful holiday season, speak to your employer. Many companies are looking to resolve these issues and retain high-quality workers. A conversation can help determine what tactics and strategies may work best for you and others in your company, whether it comes down to flex-time, a four-day workweek, or shifting some of your responsibilities to others in your department.

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See: 1-Page Resumes, Wearing Suits to Interviews & More Outdated Job Search Advice You Shouldn’t Follow
Find: Applying for a Job? Even a White Lie on Your Resume Could Cost You the Position

If your employer seems resistant to making any type of change, it could be time to update your resume and find a job where your skills and talents will be appreciated and your needs respected.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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