Employee Burnout a Bigger Problem During Pandemic

A survey highlights the importance of mental and physical wellness resources.

Employee burnout happens. Add to employee situations remote work, children home from school and social distancing, and it is likely to be happening more so.

Forty-five percent of U.S. employees say they are feeling burnout, with one in four indicating that the cause is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new national poll by Eagle Hill Consulting. Employees indicate that the top causes of burnout are their workload (45%), trying to juggle their professional and personal life (35%), a lack of communication (32%) and time pressures (30%).

Amid the crisis, 45% of employees say they are less productive and half say they feel less connected to their colleagues.

More than one-third (36%) of employees say their organizations are not taking steps to address employee burnout, the survey found. Only 34% say their employers are increasing flexibility, while 26% say employers are improving communications. Only 20% say they are provided with mental and physical wellness resources. Only 19% say employers are changing goals and targets based on the situation now, and only 18% say employers are making workloads more manageable.

“The mistake many leaders make is treating burnout as a personnel issue when it’s really an organizational issue. It’s incumbent on employers to create an organizational culture that supports employees during times of crisis and avoids burnout when we’re not facing an emergency. Ultimately, the costs of burnout are high – from low productivity to mistakes to high turnover,” says Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting.

The survey also found 37% of employees indicate that they are more attentive to customer needs. Forty-six percent of employees say they now are more likely to stay in their job, while 36% say they feel less positive about their career.