Employee burnout on the rise since COVID-19

73% of professionals reported being burned out in April, up sharply from February, according to a new report.

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There's no two ways about it: People are burned out at work, and not surprisingly, it's gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Seventy-three percent of working professionals report being burned out in April compared to 61% in mid-February, according to new research by the anonymous professional network blind.

The top reasons for burnout during COVID-19? For nearly 27%, it was "no separation between 'work' and 'life,'" followed by unmanageable workload (20.5%); and job security concerns (nearly 19%), according to blind's report, The State of Burnout 2020.

In February, the reasons were different: 25% cited unmanageable workload while nearly 16% cited insufficient rewards; and 15% cited a lack of control over work.

Meanwhile, tech workers are more burned out than finance workers now and in February, blind said. Pre-COVID-19, almost 62% of tech workers reported being burned out compared to nearly 59% of finance workers. In April, the numbers inched closer: nearly 74% of tech workers said they were experiencing burnout compared to 71.5% of finance professionals.

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The top 10 burned out companies

Apparently, it's no fun being a driver in the gig economy in a pandemic. In April, almost 88% of employees at Lyft reported being burned out at work followed by 82% at Uber.

Other frazzled employees are at Airbnb and LinkedIn (both nearly 81%); followed closely by Oracle (80%); Cisco (nearly 78%); Salesforce (77%); Apple (unchanged at 75%); PayPal (75.5%); and Expedia Group (75%), blind's research showed.

Oracle held the lead spot as the most burned out company in February (nearly 79%); followed by T-Mobile (76.5%); Apple (76%), and Cruise Automation (75%).

Burnout has risen by 12% due to COVID-19 in just three months, according to blind.

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"With growing conversations about destigmatizing mental health and the permanent changes to the workforce, we believe burnout should be included in the forefront of the conversation," said blind's co-founder, Kyum Kim, adding that the survey results are troubling, but not altogether surprising.

"The burnout conversation has never been linear; the health implications include anxiety, insomnia, depression, substance abuse, and coronary heart disease," Kim added. Mental health is becoming a more significant national concern as more Americans are forced to remain isolated away from loved ones and support systems."

Before conducting the study, blind wanted to gauge the emotional well-being of the platform's users in terms of their anxiety levels, feelings of loneliness, and productivity during social distancing. Nearly 57% of professionals are experiencing increased feelings of anxiety during work from home and social distancing, blind said.

Another almost 53% of professionals are experiencing increased loneliness during work from home and social distancing, the company said.

"Working from home used to be referred to as a policy that represents flexibility, but now professionals are forced to work from home without any flexibility," said Kim. "We have found out that the pandemic is affecting professionals' mental health as well as productivity. I think employers should be aware of this non-voluntary status and start making adjustments to help elevate their professionals [well-being]." 

The top 10 least burned out companies

Bloomberg has the distinction of being the least burned out company in both February and April, although the percentages vary: It ranked at 45% in April compared to 38.5% in February. Others on the list for April: SAP (59%); Nvidia (nearly 64%); Adobe (nearly 65%); Google (nearly 66%); Facebook (66%); Intel (68%); eBay (70%); Careem (72%); and Microsoft (73%).

After Bloomberg, the other nine least burned out companies in February were: Intuit (42%); Zillow Group (44%); Salesforce (48%); IBM (50%); SAP (52%); Nvidia (52%); Intel (53%); eBay (54.5%); and Workday (57%).

By job function, the highest burnout during both periods was in marketing and communications (75% in February and increased to 83% in April); finance and accounting (nearly 67% in February and increased to almost 83% in April).

In February, sales/support was the third-ranked most burned out job function at nearly 65%. In April, business strategy/operations claimed the third spot at nearly 79%.

Blind received survey responses from 6,789 respondents in April and 3,921 in the February findings, the company said.

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...