Nearly 4 in 10 workers reporting increased burnout

16 May 2022 Consulting.ca 3 min. read

Nearly 4 in 10 Canadian workers (38%) said they felt more burned out now than a year ago, according to a recent Robert Half survey. The recruitment and HR consulting firm polled 500 professionals in Canada.

The results are similar to those from a 2021 survey, when 43% of workers said they were more burned out than a year ago.

"Many Canadian employees are still battling burnout, despite companies' efforts to hire permanent and contract talent to support growing business demands," said David King, Canadian senior managing director of Robert Half. "The labour market remains incredibly tight and now, more than ever, managers need to focus on the health and wellness of their teams and take steps to reduce work-related stress.”

The continuing burnout phenomenon means employers need to do more to support employee wellbeing. King says an effective program may include ongoing check-ins, the prioritization of critical work if teams are understaffed, and developing a work environment where employees feel comfortable disclosing stress and burnout.

According to the survey, 45% of workers felt uneasy expressing feelings of burnout to a manager.

Nearly 4 in 10 of workers reporting increased burnout

In the pandemic era, consulting firms have been boosting vacation days in an effort to curb burnout and turnover. PwC US, for example, has decided to close its offices for a week in the summertime to help employees unwind. This is a particularly effective method because employees in a heavy-workload industry might otherwise worry about the work they’re missing or piling up during their vacation. Shutting it all down puts everybody on the same playing field to log off and tune out.

Schedule flexibility and remote work have, counter-intuitively, been factors in increasing burnout. This trend was witnessed earlier in the pandemic as professionals realized that having a home office often meant that they were expected to be available at all times. Additionally, work could stretch longer into the evening without the concrete limit of a physical office outside the home to effectively bound the workday.

Of the sixty-nine percent of professionals who said they have the ability to set their schedule, three-quarters said they are working more hours than before the pandemic. Overall, 60% of employees are putting in 40+ hours per week.

"For some employees, schedule flexibility has created a sense that they need to be available at all times, making it more challenging to fully disconnect from work," added King. "It's important for managers to lead by example and demonstrate a true commitment to work-life balance, including proactively encouraging staff to prioritize personal commitments and take breaks and time off."

Some groups were more likely than others to report a rise in burnout. These included millennials (42%), women (42%), and professionals based in Calgary (41%).