In spite of the stress of living during a global health crisis, millions of Americans have continued to work and manage their other responsibilities — just as they did before the pandemic. So it's little wonder that the country is now facing an employee burnout crisis over a year after the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
New findings from executive training company Leadership IQ indicate that only a quarter of business leaders agree that their employees are thriving emotionally and mentally during this time. As a result, 71% predict that this widespread burnout issue will cause their company's high performers to quit.
Business leaders and their workforce are confronting a burnout crisis
A majority of respondents (84%) say that they've heard their workers use language that suggests job fatigue — words such as "burned out," "fried" and "exhausted." Additionally, many have noticed other indicators of employee burnout, such as:
- Less productivity (79%)
- More mistakes (75%)
- Less optimism (52%)
- Less resilience (43%)
Burnout doesn't just affect the rank-and-file workforce either: Leadership IQ noted that company leadership morale is also declining. Just over a third of business leaders (34%) feel that they are thriving emotionally and mentally, while 55% have outright disagreed with the sentiment.
This points to a potential problem for companies wanting to avoid turnover. When leaders are stressed and burned out themselves, it becomes that much harder for them to improve the mental health, morale and productivity of their team.
Improvements to the employee experience may offer some relief
Still, solving the national burnout crisis is easier said than done. The Leadership IQ survey found that fewer than 1 in 5 business leaders (19%) actually know how to reduce employee burnout and only 24% report that their company conducts training to address the issue.
However, the report does offer a few tips to improve the conditions for employees — which may, in turn, help to reduce some aspects of job burnout.
Mopria Alliance revealed that employees today encounter distractions about every 31 minutes on average, a phenomenon that's causing their mental health to decline. To combat this, Leadership IQ suggests offering workers uninterrupted time for work at the beginning of their days, as early morning hours (from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) are ideal for deep work with no distractions.
Another recent survey from Digital showed that 39% of small business owners expect their employees to come back to full-time, on-site work, despite the ongoing pandemic, while the same number plan to fire those who refuse.
This directly contradicts other findings from Leadership IQ, which suggests that flexible work arrangements and schedules have a positive impact on employee morale and mental health. In fact, it found that leaders especially want to be able to work remotely on Mondays and Fridays.
Methodology: Leadership IQ conducted a survey of 4,913 business leaders in the U.S. during the week of Aug. 9, 2021. Survey respondents included those in the following positions at their company: