Companies urged to allow more time off as burnout risk soars

Jacob Johnson
Source: 1News

Businesses are being encouraged to give their employees a longer summer break if possible to set them up for the year ahead.

It follows research from the Auckland University of Technology showing a skyrocketing risk of burnout during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ongoing Wellbeing@Work study, has included four surveys of roughly 1000 participants across a diverse range of levels and roles in the New Zealand workforce.

Over 19 months, the risk of burnout has increased from one in nine to one in three.

Participants were measured from 1 to 5 across four parameters in each survey: exhaustion, mental distance from their work, emotional impairment and cognitive impairment.

“It’s really ratcheted up in a bad way,” said Professor of Business Jarrod Haar, who is leading the research.

Suzi McAlpine, a leadership coach who works with businesses to help them recognise signs of burnout says Covid has only made matters worse.

“Not having the resources to do your job, a lack of control over the work, over how you carry out your work … and a sense of isolation is another cause of burnout.”

Liz Berryman, who has worked as both a nurse and a medical doctor, has been burnt out two times over her working life.

“I still experienced things like exhaustion, cynicism, where you start to not really appreciate what you’re doing as a doctor or in healthcare.”

Her recovery from burnout involved counselling as well as time off, and distance, from her job.

“I went and worked in the outback of Australia, and that was great, that was a reset for me and I was able to restore some of the exhaustion.”

While that may not be an option right now, employers are being urged to do their bit.

“Try to push this kind of break period out as long as possible,” said Haar.

“Their workforce will come back recharged and ready if they get an adequate break.”