Fifth of managers consider quitting over burnout

A fifth of managers have quit or are considering quitting after suffering burnout because the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research.

Not-for-profit healthcare provider, Beneden Health, found that 61% of managers in the UK have suffered from burnout since the beginning of the first lockdown due to the resulting strain on their mental wellbeing.

The main cause of burnout in the past year was shown to be anxiety about the future (46%), following by lack of sleep (40%), limited social interaction (35%), increased demands from senior leadership (28%) and balancing homeschooling with work (26%). A further third (34%) also revealed they had been expected to work longer hours.

The survey found that more than half of managers (55%) have wanted to take time off work due to burnout brought on by the pressures of the pandemic, only a 21%) have done so, with others suggesting their workload was too high to take time off (36%), their team needing them (33%), concerns that time off would hamper their career progression (32%) and, remarkably, that senior management wouldn’t approve it (16%).

The study also revealed that a fifth of managers that have experienced burnout in the past year have sought medical support, while a third took time off as annual leave or a physical health sick day to hide the real reason.

The survey of UK-based managers also revealed that only a fifth (20%) of those who have experienced burnout in the past year have sought medical support, whilst a third (33%) either took time off as annual leave or a physical health sick day to hide the real reason for their absence.

The effects are also being seen in their personal lives, with a third of managers reporting increased anxiety away from work, mood swings (27%), worsening diet (26%), increased alcohol consumption (18%) and deteriorating relationships with partners (10%).

Naomi Thompson, head of organisational development at Benenden Health, said: “It goes without saying that the past year has been incredibly challenging for individuals across the nation, both in our personal lives and at work.

“Businesses too have suffered immensely from the COVID-19 pandemic and these pressures have filtered down to management, who have been vital in keeping operations going at work whilst managing their own lives at home.

“An open, two-way conversation must now take place to ensure employees are able to disclose and address any mental wellbeing concerns without fear. It is also important that employers are in a position to support appropriately and effectively, to the benefit of both individual employees, and the business as a whole. In building a happy, healthy and productive workforce, employers will also have to consider how their operations change as restrictions ease, ensuring that employee wellbeing is at the forefront of these conversations.”

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