Almost 19 months into the coronavirus pandemic, threats to employee well-being continue to intensify with a 21 per cent rise in burnout and a 17 per cent increase in somatic stress symptoms, according to a new study by resilience training system meQuilibrium.
The study, which examined changes in overall well-being among more than 5,000 of the U.S. system’s members, found a particularly large rise (64 per cent) in burnout risk among younger employees — nearly three-times the increase (22 per cent) for employees over age 30.
The increase in burnout symptoms is especially high among managers (up 54 per cent) and workers in the hospitality (up 48 per cent), health care (up 32 per cent) and finance (up 30 per cent) sectors.
“Our data shows that workers continue to feel the cumulative mental-health impacts of the crisis in the form of increased stress symptoms, burnout and diminished motivation,” said Brad Smith, chief science officer at meQuilibrium, in a press release. “We need to take action now to protect employee well-being before the clock runs out.”
When it comes to gender differences, the study found that, although men and women are experiencing about the same rate of increase in burnout (up 25 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively), men’s somatic stress levels are rising at a faster rate than women’s (up nine per cent compared to three per cent).
The study also found a downturn in the extent to which employees felt supported by their employers. Six months ago, 78 per cent of employees said they felt well-supported, but that’s dropped to 71 per cent in the latest study.
Burnout symptoms among employees who had poor employer support were twice as high as those who felt protected. However, in contrast, 91 per cent of employees who felt strongly supported by their employer were more engaged with the company’s mission and vision, while 66 per cent were more connected to their job, 52 per cent were less likely to be considering quitting their job and 27 per cent were less worried about balancing work and family.
“Employers that continue to place a premium on employee well-being and performance can moderate the negative effects of the pandemic on their people before they become overwhelmed,” said Jan Bruce, chief executive officer and co-founder of meQuilibrium, in the release.