“I felt like I was on call all the time”
“I got texts on the weekends. Emails at 11 at night. And if you didn’t
respond within 30 minutes, there’d be a chain of like 20 people.”
( BuzzFeed News 17 July 2017)

Does any of the above sound familiar?

Burnout is overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and
a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

How common is burnout and what impact does it have?

Burnout has been aggravated by Covid-19 and the collateral economic uncertainty.

Limeade study ‘Workplaces in crisis : employee care missing the mark’ shows the following:

  • The percentage of employees that said they're currently burned out (72%) is a sharp increase from the number of employees who said the same in the pre-pandemic Employee Care Report (42%.)
  • Managers feel responsible, with 84% reporting they feel at least "somewhat" responsible for whether their direct report experiences burnout or not.
  • In addition, 38% of employees listed "struggling with burnout" as one of the most stressful aspects of their jobs since the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Managers are no exception, as 59% reported working more hours since the pandemic's start, and 72% reporting they at least "sometimes" feel pressure to work when sick.

According to the World Economic Forum(WEF), the annual cost of burnout to the global economy has been estimated to be £255 billion (2016).

Burnout has been associated with various forms of negative reactions and job withdrawal, including job dissatisfaction, low organizational commitment, absenteeism, intention to leave the job, and turnover.

We can do better than this , people don’t have to die in pursuit of their pay cheques!(Dying for a paycheck- Jeffrey Pfeffer)

‘Employee Appreciation Day’ is observed annually on the first Friday in March.

Before next year's “ Employee Appreciation Day” parties and programmes, one of the issues we can address is burnout. Let us work towards creating healthy workplaces and having healthy employees.

One of the most important arguments I want to make is that we need to pay greater attention to the social and organizational environment in which individuals work, and to be more creative about solutions at those levels, rather than just at the individual one. (Maslach 2011)
  1. Workload : People lack sufficient time and support to recover fully from demanding work.
  2. Control : Insufficient or lack of control or autonomy.
  3. Rewards : Insufficient financial, institutional or social reward.
  4. Community : Lack of social support
  5. Fairness : Lack of consideration
  6. Values : Mismatch of values and lack of meaningfulness.

Healthy Workplaces ( Maslach 2017)

The Area of Worklife(AW) model provides a framework for defining a healthy workplace in which employees can thrive and succeed. The six positive “fits” that promote engagement and well-being can be defined as

  1. Sustainable workload.
  2. Choice and control.
  3. Recognition and reward.
  4. A supportive work community.
  5. Fairness, respect, and social justice.
  6. Clear values and meaningful work.

Another approach is to ensure a fit between the person and the job by satisfaction of core psychological needs autonomy, belongingness, competence, psychosocial safety, positive emotions, fairness, and meaning. All of these needs have been empirically linked to intrinsic work motivation and well-being. Thus, the challenge will be to figure out how to design and modify workplaces in ways that will support the satisfaction of these needs through the performance of the job.

Everyday should be ‘Employee Appreciation Day’