Employee Burnout Rising Due to Pandemic Woes

With COVID forcing many people to be away from their friends and coworkers, there has been a lot of stress angst and otherwise negative feelings associated with isolation. As a result, burnout has been observed in many office workers.

Burnout has multiple causes, but the effects are almost universal. The amount of stress leads to multiple headaches, tense muscles, and exhaustion. Many associated this with long hours at work or in school. But increasingly many people are feeling this burnout brought on by the pandemic. When everyone was forced home and away from normal routines, relationships, and daily interactions, it changed a lot. Though Zoom calls have been created the atmosphere of inclusion, being unable to interact with fellow coworkers.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 43 percent of those surveyed reported some type of work-related stress. 48 percent reported being worried about their jobs and their future, 57 percent reported being stressed about their conditions, 26 percent reported anger about the current situation and 22 percent reported sadness over the never-ending lockdowns and isolations. This has spilled into their home lives as the current culture especially in the US is to always be available. This translates into not knowing when to stop for the day, whereas before the pandemic you could know when you’re off the clock leading to more stress and creating a cycle.[1]

Burnout is being felt across multiple industries. It is being especially felt in the healthcare industry. Being on the frontlines for more than two years, has caused many to simply quit. Not helping this decision is the sudden increase in hospitalizations brought on by the Delta variant, people have just walked off the job. For example, Michelle Thomas, a registered nurse and a manager of the emergency department at a Tucson, Arizona, hospital, resigned three weeks ago after hitting a wall. "There was never a time that we could just kind of take a breath," Thomas said Tuesday. "I hit that point ... I can't do this anymore. I'm so just tapped out." She helped other nurses cope with being alone in rooms with dying patients and holding mobile phones so family members could say their final goodbyes. "It's like incredibly taxing and traumatizing," said Thomas, who is unsure if she will ever return to nursing.[2]

Mike Smith, President of Axis Insurance Services, LLC said. “I’m a big fan of personal interaction and creating a work life balance. Working in isolation has eliminated the work life balance. Prior to the pandemic, employees could turn it off, go home and refresh for the next day. Given the current conditions, employees don’t have a natural break are often inclined to check their emails after hours because they don’t have anything else to do.”

Catherine Koch, a NASA astronaut who has spent months in the ISS station prior to the pandemic said when she went into isolation. ““I had to shift my thinking from ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint’ to ‘It’s an ultramarathon, not a marathon. ” [3] This pandemic seems endless, and more people are hitting the proverbial wall. Employers should find ways to manage workloads and find time for interaction with their employees.

 

[1] New Face of Burnout, Bamboo HR:

[2] https://www.npr.org/2021/08/10/1026577164/hospitals-face-a-shortage-of-nurses-as-covid-cases-soar

[3] New Face of Burnout, Bamboo HR:

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