NEW YORK, Dec. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Spring Health, a leading provider of behavioral health benefits with the most comprehensive solution for employee mental well-being, today announced the findings of Burnout Nation, a December 2020 online study of 1,136 employed U.S. adults that found more than three-quarters (76%) of U.S. employees are currently experiencing worker burnout.
The coronavirus pandemic — along with major political upheavals and natural disasters ranging from wildfires to hurricanes — has led to skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety, and stress for U.S. employees, setting the stage for another crisis: worker burnout. Among U.S. employees experiencing worker burnout, 57% say worries about COVID-19 have been a contributing factor to their experiencing burnout, while 33% say worries about political issues have contributed to burnout.
"The events of 2020 have put a tremendous amount of pressure on U.S. employees — especially those who are raising children or taking care of elderly loved ones," said Dr. Millard Brown, senior vice president of Medical Affairs at Spring Health. "Burnout is extremely costly for organizations, so it's imperative that leaders take steps now to reduce and manage burnout symptoms for their workforce."
Alarming number of U.S. employees experiencing worker burnout
The primary symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, feeling negative, cynical or detached from work, and reduced work performance. This state of physical and emotional exhaustion is often reached after an extended period of high stress.
Findings from the study show some populations are more heavily affected by burnout than others. Employed women, for example, are more likely than employed men to report they are currently experiencing worker burnout (80% vs. 72%), and employed women in younger age brackets are more likely to experience burnout than older employed women (87% ages 18-44 vs. 74% ages 45-54).
"Employee burnout can present on a spectrum," said Dr. Brown. "At its earliest stages, burnout can be mobilized more easily. Whether it's offering more flexible work schedules for caretakers or rebalancing workloads that have been skewed by layoffs, employers have a lot of opportunities to support their team members without sacrificing larger organizational goals. Once an employee reaches the complete burnout stage, though, recovery can become a challenging and long-term process that significantly disrupts both the employee's life and the organization's efficacy."
This disruptive complete burnout stage is more frequently reported by married or child-rearing employees. For example, while just 6% of unmarried U.S. employees report they are currently experiencing complete burnout, 12% of their married counterparts report the same. Moreover, 12% of working parents with children under 18 report they are currently experiencing complete burnout, while only 7% of those who do not have children under 18 report the same.
Broader effects of COVID-19 impact worker burnout rates
A sense of job insecurity, increased work responsibilities, and homeschooling or caregiving duties all contribute to today's high burnout rates. An alarming 36% of those experiencing worker burnout say that increased responsibilities at work contributed to their burnout. Nearly a quarter of those experiencing worker burnout (23%)—and a third of those aged 35-44 experiencing worker burnout (33%)—report insufficient paid time off as contributing to their experiencing worker burnout.
Living situations too have an effect on burnout rates. Those experiencing worker burnout with spouses are more likely than their unmarried counterparts to report working from home as a contributing factor to worker burnout (38% vs 24%).
Employers must act to prevent, manage, and reduce employee burnout
When asked what they believed would help avoid or reduce their experience of worker burnout, many U.S. employees point to changes in workplace culture or employee benefits. For example:
- Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. employees (24%) believe that receiving better mental health-related policies at work, such as mental health days, would help them avoid or reduce experiencing worker burnout.
- Almost a third of U.S. employees (30%) say reducing the number of hours spent working would help them avoid or reduce experiencing worker burnout—an understandable figure considering the reports of increased responsibilities at work experienced by those experiencing worker burnout.
- 30% also say receiving more paid time off from their employer would assist them in avoiding or reducing experiencing worker burnout.
- 26% say having a supportive and understanding manager at work would help them to reduce and avoid burnout.
These findings have important implications for organizations seeking to prevent and manage worker burnout. Reassessing workloads, paid time off policies, and wellness benefits are important actions employers can take to help workers adjust to a new work culture in which the boundaries between work and home have become blurred.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Spring Health from November 9-11, 2020 among 1,136 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older, of whom 890 are experiencing worker burnout. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].
About Spring Health
At Spring Health, we help employers modernize their behavioral health benefits with the most comprehensive solution for employee mental well-being. Spring Health provides a single front door to any type of care — from digital exercises to employee assistance program (EAP) services, to coaching, therapy, or medication — leading to faster outcomes, higher engagement, and healthier, happier employees.
SOURCE Spring Health