Younger staff at greatest risk of burnout during lockdown

Younger employees seem to be struggling the most with work/life balance under lockdown as they put in extra hours and at the same time struggle with motivation and focus. Fear of losing their jobs (36%) and the impact this current period could have on their careers (42%) are the driving forces, according to research published this week by QBE.

This age group (18-34) report an average of three extra hours of work per week, with 17% saying they were working 10 hours or more extra each week.

Across all age groups, employees are finding it difficult to switch off outside working hours (23%) and reported feeling anxious (49%) and overly tired (44%). Difficulties feeling motivated were a problem for 40%, while difficulty concentrating and a decrease in productivity were almost as prevalent.

Pinar Karabulut, psychologist and rehabilitation consultant at QBE Business Insurance says the lockdown is testing businesses everywhere. "As many UK employees adapt to this new way of working, the lines between home and work life appear to be blurring. While it is encouraging to see that the majority of people (63%) say they are enjoying working from home, our research did identify some worrying trends.

"Some people may feel obligated to answer emails outside work hours and work longer hours, but this does risk burnout and it’s important to switch off at the end of the day to avoid a negative impact on mental health.”

“We recommend employers check in with their employees regularly to see how they are feeling and coping. Employees should be encouraged to stick to normal working hours to reduce the risk of burning out and to take regular breaks. It is also important to encourage regular communication such as video chats between managers and team members to make sure employees don’t feel too isolated," she added.

Steps to support the mental well-being of employees (Source: QBE Business Insurance)

1. Identify: Employers should identify any changes in the motivation and mood of their team members by implementing regular check-ins and setting up times for frank conversations that can lead to increased engagement and act as a gateway to providing support.

2. Communicate: Staff must be kept fully up-to-date with the employee well-being benefits currently in place. These benefits should include several well-being aids and solutions, from informative webinars, to an EAP, to health support through private medical insurance.

3. Inform: Mental well-being and resilience can be strengthened through increased knowledge of how to practically carry out these concepts, and employers should consider arranging regular well-being webinars focusing on sleep hygiene, exercise, relaxation, and maintaining social connections in the digital world. Collective engagement in health-related behaviours can improve motivation and social connectedness.

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