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U.S. employees are happy, but burnt out

Sharon Florentine | July 20, 2015
In the U.S. and Canada, workers seem conditioned to accept a new workplace reality: They're always on, always available and tasked with fulfilling the demand to do more with less.

"Sure, remote work opportunities, an always on mentality and flexibility can be great for both employees and employers, but it comes with a cost. There has to be some kind of balance to avoid burnout and people leaving your organization -- wearables like the Apple Watch and others are just accelerating this trend," Schawbel says.

Burnout forces workers to look for other opportunities

About 40 percent of workers surveyed acknowledged that burn out is a problem and acknowledge that it's motivating them to search for a new job. Burnout is also eroding workers' productivity, says 66 percent of U.S. employees in the survey. The biggest burnout accelerators include the following:

About half of respondents, 49 percent, say decreasing their workload or providing more time to complete tasks would minimize burnout, the survey revealed. While that might seem impossible for employers, there are simple steps that can help, not the least of which is providing opportunities for remote and/or flexible work schedules. In addition, 33 percent of respondents say their employer should encourage them to take breaks, while 28 percent say improving technology that allows them to work remotely or collaborate effectively would help alleviate burn out.

Message to employers: Be flexible

The biggest request for employers, according to the survey, is that they provide more flexibility (37 percent). Other steps employers can take to improve happiness and reduce burnout are adding more office perks like well-stocked breakrooms or food (34 percent) and improving office technology (18 percent), according to the survey.

Survey respondents continually came back to the need for flexibility in their workplace; 46 percent of respondents say that work-life balance is an important aspect to consider when looking for a job, second only to salary (57 percent). Additionally, one in five employees cited work-life balance issues as a reason for considering a job change, while close to a third identified it as a leading contributor of loyalty to their current employer.

"This research uncovered a number of benefits -- such as flexible schedules, telecommuting, office perks -- that have emerged as critical factors for balancing intensifying work demands with employees' personal lives. The key is to survey and assess your workplace to figure out what works best for your organization so you can apply different approaches to find ones that will help your employees maintain a balance so they don't get burned out. Then, you'll have the best of both worlds -- happy, productive employees who aren't tempted to leave because they're overworked," Ringel says.


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