More than half the global workforce has experienced burnout because of excessive workloads and mandated office returns, a new study has found.
The research by global workplace creation company Unispace, which surveyed 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers across 17 countries worldwide, revealed that 59% of workers often suffer bouts of feeling burned out.
Returning for Good, a Unispace Global Workplace Insights report, found that while half blame an excessive workload for the condition, a further third (33%) said time spent in the office was the cause.
The study also showed that nearly three in five (58%) struggle with carrying out key aspects of their job while they are physically at work.
According to Unispace, this indicates that burnout could become more prevalent at a time when most (87%) of employers are expecting people to return to offices at least four days out of five within the next two years.
The data also highlights that the condition is more prevalent among younger workers, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of 18 to 35-year-olds citing it as an issue. This drops to less than half (47%) among those over 45, suggesting that those who are struggling to adapt are employees who are not used to traditional office spaces.
Julie Lecoq, workplace strategist and change management specialist at Unispace, said: “Burnout across the workforce is a real concern for businesses, and we are seeing a real disconnect between employers and employees that is exacerbating this issue. Firms are increasingly encouraging people back into workplaces, however these spaces are not necessarily equipped to allow workers to feel comfortable and be productive.
“While our research does show that employees value being in the workplace for the social interaction and collaboration it brings, they are struggling with other aspects of their job – and businesses are seemingly unaware of this issue.”
Earlier this week, Zoom announced that staff living within a 50-mile radius of an office would have to return to the workplace at least two days a week as part of a “structured hybrid approach”. Its decision followed similar moves by Twitter, Starbucks, Disney and Amazon.
Lecoq added: “If the mental wellbeing of the workforce is to be boosted, staff need access to a working environment that is well-balanced and supports a range of working styles and personal preferences, from collaboration to quieter focus areas.
“We also expect to see an uplift in interest for spaces that are specifically dedicated to reducing stress and burnout, such as digital free zones, outdoor spaces, and other spaces designed for rejuvenation and relaxation. At the crux of any workplace changes though, is the need for employers to understand the make-up of their workforce and speak to their people to really understand what is influencing burnout.”