Employee burnout reached a two-year high in August, as staff battled a cocktail of hardships including social isolation, enforced working from home and job security fears.
According to analysis of 1.75 million employee surveys by engagement firm Glint, 5.41% of employees provided written comments that described feeling fatigued, overwhelmed and showed other potential signs of burnout.
By contrast, the proportion at risk of burnout in January was 4.08%, and the two-year average was 4.12%.
Last year, the World Health Organization recognised burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
Symptoms include feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.
Employees who took part in an engagement survey provided by Glint also felt less connected with their colleagues (37%) and leaders (31%), which Glint noted were other potential indicators of burnout.
In July, almost three quarters of employees aged 24 to 38 expressed high interest in more employer-sponsored mental health and wellbeing support, and the same proportion wanted more support to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
“Globally, many employees are emotionally exhausted – and they’ll be finishing this year with little left to give,” said Steven Buck, head of people science, EMEA, Glint.
“If you’re a people leader feeling overwhelmed by your employees’ needs right now, our recommendation is to start with one of the most straightforward habits to help your employees rebuild connections and best direct their energy: conversations.
“Employees who have regular conversations with their managers say they’re better able to do their work and take care of themselves. Even better is to recognise and embrace the fact that these conversations have taken on a more personal tone this year, addressing the needs of the whole person rather than focusing solely on work priorities.”