Updated: Jun 9, 2022
Burnout at work is real. It’s so real, in fact, that it’s now an officially recognized syndrome, according to the World Health Organization. Further to that, as of January 1 2022 it will become a workplace responsibility. Are you prepared?
This is significant. A recent Gallup survey of 7,500 full-time employees reported 23% feeling burned out at work very often or always, while 63% said they experience it sometimes. On top of this 44-48% of millennials and gen z reported feeling constantly anxious or stressed.
“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”
― Desmond Tutu
Burnout is described by The World Health Organisation in their ICD-11 Revision as "a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." It includes three specific signs of workplace burnout:
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.
The fact is, burnout is now an officially recognised syndrome and cannot be ignored. Ignorance will cost businesses thousands, in lost work hours, claims and the loss of good people unnecessarily.
Recently, a client in the legal space identified 70% of their top fee earners were on the path to burnout. Unchecked, this imminent attrition would have crippled the business. They had to intervene or die.
We have discovered a couple of interesting points. Firstly, 55% of organisations who witnessed staff working outside of contracted hours, on holidays or taking leave to catch up on workload (leavism) did nothing about it. Keep this in mind when related to the second point; 50% of staff don’t trust their bosses to look out for them, so would rather hide how they really feel. Consider this for a second. Unless you have the correct measures in place to identify and address these problems you will not attract and retain the best people. What does that cost your business?
In the UK it is estimated that problems associated with stress, anxiety and depression account for almost half of all working days lost. However, let’s not forget burnout, its precursors such as leavism as well as other reduced performance indicators like presenteeism (at work in body but not mind) are not new. It has simply got to a point where the new generation of workers are not motivated in the same way as the older workforce. They see the world differently, so much so they align themselves to businesses with the same values and purpose as well as those with a supportive environment in which they can grow their careers in a better way - often willing to accept less pay for it.
Against the backdrop of COVID and WHO recognising burnout as an occupational phenomenon, 2022 will become something of a watershed year for businesses as they will be forced to accept responsibility for the health of their people. So, as a business leader what can you do to prepare? There are 3 steps;
Data. Understand your people by gathering the right data, regularly.
Early warning. Put in place systems to catch issues before they become a problem.
Take Action. Link programs with data and action.
This process needs to become part of your business as usual.
January 2022 is not far away. Begin planning now.
yppah exists to help clients turn people risk into a competitive advantage by identifying and tracking reduced performance indicators, such as Presenteeism, Leavism and Burnout.
As a business, monitor trends and gather insights to ensure people systems and structures are working, at a global, office and team level. As an individual, assess where you’re at to better understand why you feel a particular way and compare your progress over time.
Using our tools, businesses identify, understand and address previously unseen problems. We enable them to assess, measure and track the Resilience, of their people, at scale.