More than eight in 10 (82 per cent) senior leaders say they’ve experienced exhaustion indicative of burnout, according to a survey by Deloitte Canada and LifeWorks Inc.
The survey, which polled more than 1,100 senior leaders from 11 companies in global markets including Canada, Europe and the U.S., found nearly all (96 per cent) of those who reported exhaustion also indicated their mental health has declined.
The top five stressors for respondents were an increase in work volume compared with pre-coronavirus pandemic levels (68 per cent); the desire to provide adequate support for the well-being of employees (62 per cent); performance demands (41 per cent); and implementing restructurings, layoffs and cost-cutting measures (31 per cent).
Slightly more than half (51 per cent) of leaders said they’ve contemplated leaving their roles. Among these respondents, roughly a quarter (23 per cent) said they’ve considered resigning, while others have considered moving to a less demanding role (16 per cent), retirement (16 per cent), taking a leave of absence (13 per cent) and working part time (six per cent).
Increased mental-health strain (38 per cent) was the most prevalent reason cited by respondents considering leaving or downshifting their roles, followed by feeling underappreciated (22 per cent), finding a better career opportunity (eight per cent), caregiving responsibilities (five per cent) and increased mental stress/strain at home (five per cent).
More than three-quarters (70 per cent) of respondents said they’re working more hours than typical since the start of the pandemic. Notably, a majority (82 per cent) of respondents regularly finish work feeling mentally and physically exhausted. More than half (59 per cent) said they’re unable to relax, while 49 per cent said they have trouble sleeping, 43 per cent reported increased irritability and 38 per cent noted reduced energy or emotional changes. As well, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents said they don’t make time for their personal well-being, either consistently or at all, compared to the 37 per cent who said they do.
While 59 per cent of senior leaders noted their peers are helpful in supporting their resilience, nearly a third (32 per cent) indicated their relationships with their peers have worsened. Additionally, roughly two-thirds (65 per cent) reported these worsened peer relationships have negatively impacted their mental health, while 59 per cent reported experiencing the opposite.
And stigma surrounding mental health is still prevalent in the workplace, as roughly four in 10 (41 per cent) respondents said they would find it difficult to acknowledge or accept if they had a mental-health issue. More than half (55 per cent) would be concerned their career opportunities would be limited if their employer was aware they had a mental-health issue.