Burnout is recognized as a major workplace issue by the World Health Organization. It lists exhaustion, negative feelings about one’s job and reduced professional efficacy as the main characterizations of burnout.
In fact, Gartner found that 2022 was the worst year on record for stress and burnout at work. Therefore, wellbeing and burnout is not something that employers cannot overlook if they want to have a healthy, productive workforce, and they don’t want to face high attrition rates.
Research by Slack’s Future Forum consortium found that burnout impacts retention. According to a survey of 10,000 workers from six countries, burnt out workers 1.8 times less satisfied at work, and they are 3.4 times more likely to look for a new job this year than those who are not burnt out.
The problem for employers and HR team is knowing where to start to nip burnout in the bud. The Future Forum research found that flexible working schedules could be the answer.
The survey 53% of workers who are unsatisfied with their level of flexibility are burnt out. In comparison, only 37% of workers who work flexibly report burnout. The report ultimately found that employees with rigid work schedules are 26% more likely to burn out.
This makes sense as Harvard Business review cites unmanageable workloads, lack of role clarity, and unreasonable time pressure as some of the main reasons for burnout.
Flexibility isn’t just working from home
Often when people think about flexible work, especially after the pandemic, they are thinking of remote work. While switching up where you work is one type of flexible work, there are other types, including around when people work aka flexible schedules.
Flexible schedules can take many forms. It could be asynchronous schedules, core hours, or a four-day week.
In fact, 93% of workers surveyed by Future Forum are more interested flexibility around when they work, whereas 81% want flexibility in where they work.
There is lots of research that suggest that flexibility around hours is beneficial for not just burnout, but also productivity in general.
So, employers, when looking at flexibility to mitigate employee burnout, don’t just embrace working from home, but also think about introducing flexibility around when your people work.
The key is asking your workers what types of flexibility they want – workers really value open communication and transparency around flexible work.
Future Forum’s study found that workers were 8.8 times more likely to be satisfied at work (and more productive) if they see their employer as transparent.
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