Six In 10 Workers Report Burnout Related To COVID-19

Ironically, as America readies for Labor Day weekend, a festive observation often celebrated with backyard barbecues, picnics and craft beer, most Americans report feelings of burnout (58 percent), and even more so than during the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic (45 percent).

The 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Employee Burnout Survey of 1,001 U.S. workers, conducted by Ipsos from April 8-10 and August 13-17, also found that among workers reporting burnout, 35 percent attribute their feelings to the pandemic—up from 25 percent in April. These findings suggest that, as time goes on, workers may be feeling the effects of coronavirus impact on their lives more intensely now than before as the “new norm” set in.

When participants were asked about the specific causes of burnout, nearly half (47 percent) said their workload, 39 percent said work-life balance, 37 percent said a lack of communication, feedback and support from their companies and teams; 30 percent said deadlines and unclear expectations, and 28 percent said performance expectations. When asked about their feelings regarding the transition to remote work, 45 percent of respondents said that COVID-19-related changes to their work life has made them feel less productive, 36 percent said they don’t feel as positive about their careers, and 50 percent said they feel less connected to their employees. However, on the upside, 37 percent of employees said they feel they are more attentive now to their clients’ needs.

Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, LLC, says that many company leaders make the mistake of identifying burnout as a personal issue instead of an organizational issue, but the upcoming holiday presents a unique opportunity for companies to rethink their strategies. “Labor Day can serve as an inflection point for employers to re-calibrate with their workforce,” Jezior says. “This level of burnout is problematic and could increase as millions of employees continue to work from home, and many schools remain unable to fully open. We’re in this pandemic for the long haul, and employers have got to find a way to make workloads sustainable for employees and better equip managers to lead. Otherwise, companies risk harming their bottom line and brand.”

In “Organizational Strategies for Battling Burnout During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” a webinar and discussion about the survey with Jezior and licensed clinical psychologist Binita Amin, PhD, PLLC, Jezior shared that employee burnout translates into losses for U.S. businesses of $150-$350 billion.

When asked what their organizations are doing to mitigate burnout, more than one-third (36 percent) said their organization isn’t doing anything at all. For companies that are making an effort, 34 percent of respondents said their company is increasing flexibility, 26 percent said improving communication, 20 percent said providing mental and physical wellness resources, 19 percent said changing goals and targets based on today’s circumstances and 18 percent said they are making workloads more manageable.

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Comments (1)
Jae M. Rang
September 4, 2020
We're experiencing this first-hand but not with our team. It's apparent, by what it takes to get decisions and process orders, that the pandemic - or how we responded to it - has taken its toll on customers and providers as well. Most people are on edge - distracted and disrupted - and it takes a high level of empathy and an enormous amount of patience to keep the train moving. Is this the "second wave" we were warned about?
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