Could addressing burnout be the ultimate solution to the Great Resignation?
Every leader wants to lead an engaged and productive team, but there’s a good chance that this wish does not reflect reality – at least not right now. Close to one third of workers in the Asia–Pacific have reported an increase of burnout at work with Singapore (37%) and India (29%) cited as the top countries. If your workforce appears more disengaged and depleted than energised, listening to these concerns could save you from losing your best employees.
Across Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia, 58 per cent of employees are looking for new job prospects. This number is higher for a younger cohort of 18 to 24 year olds – 65 per cent. Beyond the daily stressors, some of the top reasons people want to leave their jobs is due to a lack of growth opportunities, salary dissatisfaction and concerns about their wellbeing.
In the era of the ‘new normal’ the changing nature of work has meant that many employees are grappling with a range of mental health issues, including loneliness and the erosion of barriers between work and leisure. While creating cultures where workers can thrive might not be the easiest task, it’s among the most critical priorities at this time given the correlation between perceptions of burnout and retention.
Despite this, some countries in the Asia–Pacific region are known for their cultures of overwork and stigmas surrounding mental health that prevent workplaces from evolving. In Hong Kong 92 per cent of workers believe that their employers don’t have access to the right resources to support their wellbeing while in Singapore 86.5 per cent of employees fail to seek mental health support due to societal stigmas.
Unsurprisingly, longer work hours have been shown to contribute to increased feelings of burnout, which have been most apparent in Australia and Singapore compared to Germany where the workday span has remained relatively unchanged. Globally, remote work has led to a different set of work habits such as after hours chats and more meetings than before the pandemic.
In Australia where the Great Resignation is anticipated to arrive by March 2022, about 24 per cent of workers are actively seeking new jobs and a very few number (9%) of employees are actually engaged in their work.
Work burnout can make employees more likely to take sick leave, feel less confident in their role and less likely to open up to their managers about topics like their performance goals.
How to prevent and deal with burnout in the workplace
Managers should receive training to be able to detect and manage burnout in themselves and their teams with the assistance from top management.
Employees need to be able to access their resources both at home and at work as well as collaborate with other team members. There should also be flexibility around work-near-home options that help to blur the boundaries between work and leisure.
A workplace culture where employees are encouraged to attend to their mental and physical wellbeing as well as maintain a healthy work–life balance are more likely to thrive, particularly when given the right resources.
Employees should be encouraged to unplug after work hours by shutting down their devices and reserving all weekends, holidays and holiday leave for leisure activities rather than work-related tasks, including emails.