Employee burnout surges amid coronavirus pandemic: survey

A third (33 per cent) of employees said they’re more burned out on the job these days compared to 2019, according to a new survey by Robert Half Canada Inc.

The staffing firm, which surveyed 500 Canadian employees this summer, found that, among this group, 40 per cent pointed to having a fuller plate at work as the top reason for rising levels of fatigue. Meanwhile, another 49 per cent of employees said they’re just as burned out now as they were 12 months ago, while 18 per cent reported a drop in burnout. 

“Organizations continue to weather the financial impact of the pandemic and, in some cases, are doing so with leaner teams in place,” said David King, Canadian senior district president at Robert Half, in a press release. “This has resulted in an increased workload for employees, with many still working from home and balancing important job priorities with personal and family demands. With workers indicating they are experiencing rising levels of fatigue, managers need to work with their teams to address job burnout head on. This means helping them to not only prioritize their workloads, but also their well-being.”

Read: Pandemic blurring work-life lines a recipe for employee burnout

Women (36 per cent) were more likely than men (31 per cent) to cite a rise in burnout. Nearly an equal percentage of respondents with children in their household (34 per cent) and those without (33 per cent) said they’re more worn out from work today compared to 12 months ago. And more employees (37 per cent) aged 25 to 40 said they’re experiencing a higher degree of burnout this time last year, compared to 36 per cent of those aged 41 to 54 and 28 per cent of respondents aged 55 and older. 

While the increase in employee burnout is bad news, the good news is that a separate Robert Half survey, which polled 600 managers this summer, found they understand the impact employee stress could have on business operations. Indeed, the majority (82 per cent) of senior managers said they’re worried about staff retention. Among those respondents, 47 per cent said the reason for their concern is employees are managing heavy workloads and on the brink of burnout.

Read: How can employers manage work-from-home burnout?

“In today’s demanding work environment, managers need to find ways to support their employees and equip them with the tools they need to alleviate stress and prevent burnout,” said King. “This includes encouraging teams to disengage from work outside of regular working hours, urging them to take time off to relax and recharge and ensuring they take advantage of any wellness offerings they have access to.”