Has the lockdown increased the chances of burnout?

Has the lockdown increased the chances of burnout?

A recent survey found that almost 50% of managers believe that their employees are at risk of burnout, with changes to their working routine, location and hours being cited as a major contributing factor. In addition to this, over one-third of employees surveyed openly said that they believe their mental health and wellbeing had suffered as a result of the government enforced lockdown and Coronavirus outbreak.


“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”https://www.helpguide.org/


There are a few key areas and factors that can be the cause of or amplifier or burnout, they are:


  • A lack of support – Employees who feel as though they are unable to approach a manager or raise their mental health concerns will be unable to get the support or assistance needed to help lighten their load.


  • An excessive workload – A growing workload with a little support or guidance on how to manage it (whether this be due to poor management or poor communication due to remote working) will increase the pressure and employee feels in terms of output or productivity, which could be very overwhelming.


  • A lack of acknowledgement/recognition – Many employees are driven by recognition for a job well done. Whilst remote working or with many workforces being scattered, it’s easy for this level of communication to fade and for employees to feel unappreciated or devalued within their role.


  • A lack of structure – A breakdown in communication, whether it be a lack of team meetings/huddles can dissolve the structure that an employee may rely on for motivation, accountability and support, leading to them feeling lost with their role and overwhelmed by the list of tasks they have to complete.


  • Isolation – Whilst remote working, it’s easy for an employee to feel isolated or alone, with the office banter, camaraderie and chit chat that many rely on for a boost of energy and positivity being lost.


Many businesses will actually have seen a great boost in output from their staff during the lockdown. Which at first may seem like a big positive but it is at a great detriment to the workforce. With almost 90% of all staff feeling a perceived pressure to keep their output and productivity high, many have overexerted themselves, worked longer hours and sacrificed their work-life balance to maintain or exceed a perceived level of productivity. This will be a key contributor towards burnout and stress as in some cases employees will struggle to ‘turn off’ after the regular working day is done. This is not a sustainable approach and whilst it may yield a short-term boost for the business, it’s likely that any resulting burnout or mental health strain will become a detriment soon after.


Now that many businesses have (or will soon be) returned back to the workplace, mental health, burnout and employee wellbeing should be a key focus for all employers. Employee wellbeing and burnout in particular need to be at the top of every employer’s agenda, with managers and decision-makers getting relevant training to help manage and support employee mental health concerns. Burnout itself can often be directly linked to work, whereas other mental health conditions are likely to instead be amplified or exasperated by the stresses and pressures that work can present. For this reason, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of employers to put in relevant preventative structures and support systems to reduce or prevent it altogether.


Here at High Performance, we offer training for managers to help them spot the early signs of burnout and help support employees who are struggling with their mental health or stress. We can also help to implement a support structure within your organisation. Please get in contact, should you require support or additional information on any subject raised in the article above.


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates

Sign up now