COVID-19: Why burnout is on the rise

Against the backdrop of a pandemic, more people are feeling mentally exhausted

COVID-19: Why burnout is on the rise

More than seven in 10 professionals today are suffering from burnout in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The biggest setback for workers is the lack of separation between their work and private life, according to a new study from professional feedback platform Blind. 

Burnout is a reality that has plagued the workplace for years. But, against the backdrop of a global health crisis, the number of cases is rising – and rising fast.

READ MORE: COVID-19: How to relieve employee anxiety

In mid-February, 61% of respondents said they were burning out on the job, with their ‘unmanageable workload’ cited as the main stressor (25.3%). Fast forward to the weeks leading up to the pandemic, and 73% are now feeling exhausted for the following reasons:

  • 26.7% – No separation between work and life
  • 20.5% – Unmanageable workload
  • 18.8% – Job security concerns
  • 11.1% – Lack of support from manager
  • 10.8% – Lack of control over work

“Burnout can feel personal,” said Fiorella Riccobono of Blind. “What can C-level leaders do to address a personal issue systematically, in a time where they cannot even have in-person interaction with them?” The answer, she believes, is in addressing the root cause of burnout – whether it’s the lack of job security or the lack of managerial support.

The study also found certain job functions to be more prone to burnout than others. These include:

  • Marketing and communications – 74.8%
  • Finance and accounting – 66.7%
  • Sales/support – 64.8%
  • Business strategy/operations – 64.1%
  • HR – 59.6%
  • Engineering and technology – 59.5%

READ MORE: The emotional cost of working from home

How can employers address burnout? “Mental health is often still a taboo subject in the workplace so it is important to openly address the issue,” said Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at Robert Half Singapore. “Set time aside to talk to employees.”

“Employees consistently cite work-life balance as one of the most valuable aspects of their organization’s culture,” he told HRD. It is important, therefore, to “[respect] the obligations and interests that occupy workers outside of the office.”

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