The pandemic and global lockdowns let the genie out of the bottle with many jobs that were previously office-only now able to be done from home through advances in technology. While this is definitely progress towards a better work-life balance for many people, it doesn’t eliminate the threat of burnout.
Working from home answers many of the problems of the modern office. These include commute, distractions, and a focus on presenteeism where the first one in and the last one out are rewarded.
That doesn’t mean remote work answers all of those problems. Burnout is still a major issue company leaders need to tackle. These are some of the main remote work burnout statistics to take into consideration. and as these remote work burnout statistics show, is still an issue in 2022.
Remote Workers Burnout Statistics in 2022
- According to Deloitte’s burnout survey, 77% of U.S. employees have experienced burnout in their current job, this is highest amongst those who don’t feel passionate about their work. This figure rises to 84% among millennials.
- The biggest driver of burnout at 31% was lack of recognition or support from leadership, highlighting again the importance of communication with remote workers.
- But being asked to join unnecessary meetings was a problem for 35% of those surveyed.
- 65% of staff surveyed said they worked more hours when they worked from home.
- 24% more remote staff experience emotional burnout, compared to their office-based colleagues.
- 61% of people miss the ‘real human connection’ with their colleagues.
- Staff who are experiencing burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day, and according to a Stanford Study that will cost the US companies $190 billion in healthcare expenses.
- This added up to over 15 million work days in 2019.
- Employers weren’t prepared, with just 36% of them having something in place to prevent burnout.
- Burnout was more likely to occur in lower-level jobs; 44% at the $30-60k pay range dropping to 38% above £100k
- Geography matters. The most affected by burnout were people in the UK (57%) closely followed by the US at 50%. Spain, France, and Germany all had rates in the 30s.
The Role of the Pandemic
- According to Global Workplace Analytics, at the height of the pandemic, 69% of people were working from home. 82% of workers want that to continue, even if it’s a hybrid option.
- 54% of those surveyed said if they were required to go back to the office they’d stay in the job but would no longer ‘go the extra mile’, and the remainder says they would simply look for another job where they could work from home.
- At its height, 9.8 million working mothers suffered burnout because they had to care for their children and keep high productivity at work.
- While the children have returned to school or daycare, working mothers are still more prone to burnout with a recent survey showing 53% of women are experiencing more stress now than during the pandemic.
- The pandemic actually saw people taking less time off, with 59% of people taking less vacation days over lockdown.
- Workers are three times more likely to report mental health problems compared to pre-pandemic records.
How to Recognize and Reduce Remote Work Burnout
According to the charity, Mental Health UK, signs of burnout include:
- Feeling tired or drained most of the time
- Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated
- Feeling detached/alone in the world
- Having a cynical/negative outlook
- Procrastinating and taking longer to get things done
- Feeling overwhelmed
In a remote team member, this might look like missed meetings or deadlines, being unusually quiet on calls or social channels, increased sick time, or uncharacteristic behavior like taking things personally or being snappy with colleagues.
What Employers Can Do About Burnout
There are things that an employer or manager can do to prevent burnout:
- Measuring on output rather than presenteeism; if the work gets done, it doesn’t really matter whether a person was at their desk between 9 and 5
- Fostering a sense of belonging through virtual team-building exercises
- Regular one-to-one check-ins
- Representing your team at head office and making sure they don’t get overlooked
- Checking when staff last had a day off – we all need a break at times
- Signing up to an employee wellbeing program that offers talking therapies or other health benefits
What is Remote Work Burnout?
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. It is characterized by feelings of exhaustion, low energy, and pessimism towards work.
Scientific research isolates three leading symptoms connected to employee burnout:
- Emotional exhaustion
- Reduced personal accomplishment
Symptoms of employee burnout are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms include intrusive thoughts; nightmares and insomnia; chronic irritability and angry outbursts; fatigue, loss of focus, and hypervigilance. Employee burnout leads to severe professional and personal repercussions.
Does Working from Home Increase Burnout?
No, although this depends on the personality and responsibilities of each individual.
Does remote work cause more stress? Well, if it does then it suggests that person may be better off working in the office. There is no hard and fast rule, but generally speaking working from home, when the employer gets it right, improves mental wellbeing.
Does Remote Work Decrease Productivity?
Working remotely improves productivity and this has been proven in numerous research studies. Again, that does depend on the individual as we can’t all stay strong against the lure of Netflix, but for the most part, people who work from home get more done.
What do Remote Work Burnout Statistics Tell Us?
These statistics show us that in order for remote work to be an advantage to both employees and business it needs to be done well.
Many companies have made the leap to remote out of necessity following the pandemic, and that means remote work situations aren’t ideal. For companies with staff experiencing burnout, there is plenty that can be done, the most fundamental of which is ensuring good communication between managers and remote staff.