Rise of the Work Burnout Trend

Work Burnout, what does this mean? Why is it happening more frequently? What can you do to help?


Work Burnout: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) – “Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress not being managed effectively. Three dimensions characterize Burnout:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.”

Why is this happening more Frequently?

In my personal opinion, the time of work first life second, though still the norm, is no longer viewed as ok. During the pandemic shutdown, we had a reminder that there is life outside of the office. Many people I have spoken with have said that returning to a pre-pandemic work schedule and dealing with expectations that go along with overworking is overwhelming. A balance of work and life is now a necessity for them. 

Because of this, everyday work challenges that we used to take for what they were have started to become tedious. For example, dealing with a co-worker or manager you do not connect with, getting back into a work mindset, dealing with customers face to face, or even commuting is causing more stress now than before. On top of that, stresses present pre-pandemic are more exasperated as we return to our old routine. Like; feeling underappreciated, the demand for going above and beyond what is required just to be noticed, questioning your trajectory, little or no opportunity for growth, or being in a workplace culture that is not transparent or inclusive. 

How do you combat this?

Not one person has the same triggers. There are many great suggestion lists online, but it’s really about finding what works in your industry. Some companies can address their employees’ needs individually or implement a hybrid work schedule. But, for those companies who don’t have that luxury, there are still things that they can do. Here are some ideas:  

  • Promote open communication, listen, and take action. If you can get your employees to let you know when they feel overwhelmed, you will have the opportunity to help them. Give them a break, let them take a personal day with pay, or just let them vent. Being heard is a big deal; it makes a heavy load lighter because you are sharing it. 
  • Have a system to show your employees that what they are doing is making a difference and that their hard work is appreciated and means something. Having meaning to what we do, no matter how mundane, gives purpose.
  • Ask your employees for their ideas on how to make their work environment better. Then actively make some of those changes.
  • Check-in with your management. Make sure your managers are in the right headspace to lead and promote a positive culture. Managers cannot guide their employees if they are burning themselves out. 


We can go on and on, but there is no one fix fits all. However, there is a familiar feeling among all the working people I have spoken with: their desire to be heard and to know that their company will help and stand with them. If their company had that kind of empathy for them, they would feel less stressed and more positive about tackling work challenges.

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