Recently, in conversations surrounding business and mental health, burnout has become a buzzword, but what does it actually mean?
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic made many rethink their daily lives, in particular their jobs, and their mental health. Now, as many individuals are reluctant to return to the workspace, they cite burnout as their main reason why.
Burnout is caused by severe repeated stress and constant high expectations according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information. The state of burnout can result in people who are listless, exhausted, and unable to cope. People with burnout may feel cynical about their workspace conditions and coworkers, alienating themselves from their peers.
Burnout can be found in almost any profession and can affect any employee. For example, we saw massive burnout amongst hospital staff due to the constant flow of Covid-19 patients through emergency room doors. “A lot of us are still dealing with PTSD,” said Mary Turner, a registered nurse in Minneapolis.
Additionally, many junior analysts at top financial firms have been dealing with intense burnout, causing some to leave the field altogether. With intense work schedules and high expectations, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, and Morgan Stanley have increased starting salaries by roughly $20,000 for their junior employees.
This issue is certainly costing businesses money, but the exact dollar amount is not clear. Gallup conducted a study concerning disengaged workers and found that they cost their companies around 34% of their salary due to decreased productivity. Additionally, they found that increasing the salaries of disengaged employees ends up costing companies more money, meaning the strategy that big banks have been employing is almost certainly hurting their bottom line.
The only option for these corporations is to alter the way they approach their worker’s productivity. Clearly, the reason these workers are stressed is not due to their salaries, but work conditions, and the pressure they are under.
Some companies have begun to address the mental health of their employees in different ways. Many have taken the steps to offer their employees easily accessible mental health counseling, with some even hiring counselors on site. Culligan Water has even offered live meditations and activity breaks within their workdays to allow employees space and time to relax and process the stress and expectations placed on their shoulders.
These changes in scheduling and working environment are not only effective but will help alleviate company-wide burnout issues without costing companies as much as increased salaries for their employees. If more companies can catch on to the reasons behind burnout and the potential remedies, worker shortages and poor mental health can be correctly addressed, bringing benefits for workers and their companies.