Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, 60% more employees are on the brink of a burnout. Currently, 1 in 3 employees is at risk of dropping out soon. That is the sad conclusion of research done by KU Leuven and Securex.
COVID had a serious impact on our mental well-being, which is why already a fourth of cases of long-term disability can be attributed to burnout (7,14%) and depression (17%). Numbers of the NIHDI (National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance) show that the age group of 50 to 59 was impacted the most and that women represent over 2/3 of cases of depression and burnout.
Four core symptoms
The researchers of KU Leuven defined the four most important symptoms of burnout, supplemented with three additional dimensions:
- Exhaustion, both physical and mental
- Mental distance: strong aversion towards work
- Cognitive dysregulation, such as memory issues, attention and concentration dysfunction
- Emotional dysregulation: uncontrollable and strong emotional reactions
Three additional dimensions:
- Psychological tension symtoms, such as difficulties sleeping, worrying or panic attacks
- Psychosomatic tension symptoms: physical problems from a psychological source
- Depressive mood: feeling sad and down
Most important triggers for a risk of burnout
The research by Securex identifies five crucial (work) traits that explain 41% of the risk of a burnout. Four of these triggers worsened in the past three years.
- Emotional workload (from 32% to 40%)
- Private burdens (from 31% to 38%)
- Job insecurity (from 23% to 27%)
- High work intensity (from 27% to 32%)
- Role conflicts (which remained stable, presumably due to lessened contact with colleagues because of the increased amount of remote work and temporary unemployment.)
What can you do as company?
As company you naturally play an important role in burnout prevention and support. These are a few practical actions you can take:
- Trainings for managers to recognise early signs of burnout and acute stress and to take appropriate measures to prevent absences. Combined with preventive training courses for employees about resilience and energy management.
- Individual psychosocial support for long-term absent employees.
- Support and advice for the team and manager when an employee returns after long-term absence.
For HR managers, managers and entrepreneurs, employee well-being will be the top priority for the upcoming years. The reason is luckily straightforward: happy and healthy employees are more motivated and … are absent less quickly.