The coronavirus pandemic—along with major political upheavals and natural disasters ranging from wildfires to hurricanes—has upended our lives as we know it. Many Americans have been suddenly laid off or furloughed by their employers. Those who have retained their jobs have had to make quick adjustments, whether working from home, adapting to a different workplace setting, or taking on unexpected new duties.
All this has led to skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety, and stress for American workers, setting the stage for another crisis: employee burnout.
To better understand what American employees are experiencing during these uncertain times, Spring Health commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey of 1,136 employed U.S. adults about burnout. The survey revealed a strong majority of U.S. workers are experiencing worker burnout. Here are a few of the key findings.
Who is experiencing employee burnout?
- More than three quarters (76%) of employed Americans report they are currently experiencing worker burnout.
- Roughly one in 10 (9%) employed Americans report experiencing complete burnout.
- Employed women are more likely to report they are currently experiencing worker burnout than employed men (80% vs. 72% )
- Employed women aged 35-44 are more likely than some of their younger and older counterparts to report they are currently experiencing complete burnout (19% vs. 8% of employed women age 18-34 and 7% of employed women age 45-54).
- Among employed men, those aged 45-54 are three times as likely as those aged 18-34 to say they are currently experiencing complete burnout (15% vs. 5%).
- While just 6% of unmarried American employees report they are currently experiencing complete burnout, 12% of their married counterparts report the same.
- 12% of working parents with children under 18 report they are currently experiencing complete burnout, while only 7% of those who do not have children under 18 report the same.
What is causing high burnout rates?
- 57% of those experiencing worker burnout say worries about COVID-19 are a contributing factor.
- A third (33%) of those experiencing worker burnout say worries about political issues are a contributing factor.
- Nearly a quarter of those experiencing worker burnout (23%)—and a third of those aged 35-44 experiencing worker burnout (33%)—report insufficient paid time off as contributing to their experiencing worker burnout.
- Those experiencing worker burnout with spouses are more likely than their unmarried counterparts to report working from home as a contributing factor to worker burnout (38% vs 24%).
What do employees say they need to reduce burnout?
- Nearly a third of American employees (30%) say reducing the number of hours spent working would help them avoid or reduce experiencing worker burnout. The same proportion (30%) say receiving more paid time off from their employer would assist them in avoiding or reducing experiencing worker burnout.
- Empathy and support from managers would help curtail burnout, according to more than a quarter of American employees (26%) who say having a supportive and understanding manager at work would help them to reduce and avoid worker burnout.
- Nearly a quarter of American employees (24%) say better mental health-related policies at work would help them combat burnout. Other mental-health related suggestions some American employees say could help avoid or reduce experiencing burnout include using mental health benefits offered by their employer (20%), using mental health or wellness apps (21%), and receiving access to free therapy sessions through their employer (23%).
- More than half of American employees (51% ) say self-care practices such as establishing a healthy sleep routine and following a healthy diet would help them avoid or reduce worker burnout.
- Worryingly, nearly one in 10 American employees (9%) say that nothing would help them avoid or reduce experiencing worker burnout.
To learn more about how burnout is affecting American workers—and what organizations can do to avoid or manage employee burnout—download our guide, Burnout Nation: How 2020 has reshaped employees’ relationship to work.
Survey Method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Spring Health from November 9-11, 2020 among 1,136 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 890 are experiencing worker burnout. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.