Pandemic Burnout: How is it Affecting Our Employees?

According to a July 2020 survey conducted by FlexJob and Mental Health America, “75% of Americans have experienced burnout at work. 40% state they’ve experienced burnout during the pandemic specifically.” These are alarming statics and should prompt us to take action.

There are many things that lead to burnout at work. As many are now working 100 percent from home, there can be difficulty in drawing boundaries around work hours resulting in employees working more hours. There are non-work influences as well that lead to less emotional energy to put into one’s work, such as trying to balance remote learning for kids while working and/or grieving loss of face to face relationship interactions. This can result in less energy, less ability to effectively focus on work, leading to guilt and frustration for employees.

Human Resources can play a role in supporting employees in an effort to minimize burnout. Communication is key.

  • Start with directly talking about work hour expectations. Be clear that you expect employees to work no more than XX hours per week.
  • Provide suggestions on minimizing, and ideally eliminating, “after hours” work.
  • Reach out to employees individually, asking how they are doing and what support they need.
  • Help senior leadership demonstrate good balance work habits. For example, encourage no emails sent past 6:00 p.m. each day if possible.
  • Ensure workloads are appropriate for your employees.
  • Conduct a survey to get input from employees on how to minimize burnout.
  • Many companies may notice PTO balances are on the rise. Encourage employees to take time off, even if they are not going on a vacation to ensure they take needed metal breaks from work.
  • Be sure your employees know about any assistance available to them, including an employee assistance program (EAP).

We are in this together during unknown, challenging times. This is an important opportunity for Human Resources to provide strategic support to the organization by keeping employees mentally healthy with their work. Contact Employers Council with questions.