Burnout is too common of a term, especially during the current pandemic. The work-life-balance that Americans experience is somewhat non-existent and I know I can definitely relate to this problem, and I am not alone.
According to a recent Forbes.com article, “a survey conducted by FlexJobs and Mental Health America found that 75% of people have experienced burnout at work, with 40% saying they’ve felt it during the pandemic specifically. And according to a July MetLife report on the mental health of the U.S. workforce, two in three employers said they expect a mental health crisis in the U.S. within three years.” According to the World Health Organization, symptoms of burnout include: emotionally and/or physically drained; mentally checked out at work; excessive pressure to succeed and the need to hide personal concerns while at work.
Because of COVID, many employees are working even harder with a possible pay cut, no sense of job security and unrealistic expectations. Employees working in sales are expected to sell more even with product backorders and manufacturer closures, and healthcare workers are expected to work longer hours to assist with COVID patients on top of their regular duties. Not to mention, because of the current economic situation employees are reluctant to ask for time off or a more flexible schedule.
Current burnout resources include: checking what mental health benefits your company offers, creating boundaries between your personal and work life, adjusting your work schedule, identifying what activities contribute most to your burnout symptoms, and speaking to your manager about your concerns. Easier said than done, and these don’t necessarily solve the root of the problem. We need to figure out a way to work smarter, not harder, and maybe we need a tool for that.
There are already applications out there that focus on mindfulness like Headspace and Calm, but they require the individual to take on the responsibility of using the app and incorporating it into their workday. There are also time tracking tools that employers may already use if they work out of a project management tool like Wrike, Asana or a similar platform.
What if there was a tool that could marry both of these with added benefits?
This proposed platform or application would run in the background when employees (full-time or part-time) are working and would have a few regular check-ins throughout the day that would require a break from their work. It could be a few 15 minute sessions or a full hour break. The platform could be customizable depending on the employee’s schedule, but no matter what would require breaks and an end time. If the employee needed to work outside of their scheduled hours, they would have to include notes on their work so their manager would be aware of the type of projects that are taking up too much time. It could include other types of regular project check-ins so managers could better understand their team’s workload and what tasks may contribute to burnout before it happens.
The target market for this type of platform would be any employer who invests in the mental health and wellness of their company. A tool like this could be a selling point to prospective employees, especially as many companies move to a work-from-home or hybrid model post-COVID, therefore would be something that companies would be willing to invest in.
This wouldn’t solve the overall issue of burnout but it would be a step closer for employers to better understand burnout within their companies and moving towards a solution.