Staffing shortages stress remaining workers, survey shows

Dive Brief:

  • Staffing shortages prompted by the Great Resignation are contributing to burnout for the workers left behind, an April survey by Eagle Hill showed.
  • Workload is a major driver of burnout, with 52% of workers surveyed saying it is their top problem at work, followed by juggling work and personal life at 38%. To reduce burnout, workers said a four-day workweek would help, as would increased flexibility. 
  • Younger workers and women are most likely to feel the strain, according to the survey — and the Great Resignation is likely to linger. One-third of the workforce plans to depart in the next 12 months, Eagle Hill said; younger workers said they were more likely to depart overall, at 45% of those surveyed.

Dive Insight:

As the workplace continues to rearrange itself in the wake of the pandemic, burnout has taken its toll.

An October survey from the Society for Human Resources Management showed that employees who stayed put during the Great Resignation were struggling to complete their work, more frustrated and less loyal to their organizations — and the problem does not seem to have resolved, the Eagle Hill survey shows.

Simply giving employees vacations may not be the answer, a Visier report from August showed; one-third of employees surveyed said they felt pressure to check in during their time off, and many said the preparation time required before taking off added to their stress. What may actually help, according to various studies, is flexibility in how and when work is done, a four-day workweek and less work overall.

In response to the burnout crisis, some companies shut down for a week to give employees a chance to be fully offline. More broadly, experts have recommended that employers take another look at their company culture to see where there may be gaps between expectations and reality.

To see success, employers may need to allow employees time in their day to take care of their well-being, including allowing time for workouts, socializing and going outside to recharge, experts previously wrote for HR Dive. Front-line managers also may need more support to ensure all workers can take advantage of these initiatives.

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