Employee burnout climbed 100% during the pandemic

Mental health challenges rose 143%, according to new research from Glassdoor, which also lists the top 10 highest-rated companies for work-life balance during the pandemic.

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Image: Lacheev, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

The percentage of reviews on Glassdoor mentioning burnout jumped 100% during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the proportion of employees who mentioned mental health increased 143%, the job site said in a newly-released report on work-life balance in the U.S.

The rise in the discussion of mental health is stark, the job site said. "Soon after the start of COVID-19 in the U.S., a spike in mental health discussion appeared in Glassdoor reviews, followed by a steady increase throughout 2021."

The transition to working from home for the last 18 or so months was meant to be temporary, but now "some companies are taking meaningful steps by introducing permanent flexible or work from home policies, allowing employees to have more autonomy over their own schedule," the report said. Companies are also encouraging employees to use more paid time off during the pandemic, the report said.

SEE: Wellness at work: How to support your team's mental health (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The job site also asked which companies stand out when it comes to providing work-life balance and said it analyzed millions of reviews on Glassdoor from full-time, U.S.-based employees between March 15, 2020, to Sept. 28. 2021.

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Image: Glassdoor

Top 10 highest-rated companies for work-life balance during COVID-19

Employees from these top companies touted flexible working hours, generous time off and transparency around prioritizing mental health, according to Glassdoor. 

  1. Acuity Insurance (4.9 average work-life balance score on a 5-point scale)
  2. Digital Prospectors (4.8)
  3. Sprout Social (4.8)
  4. South Carolina Federal Credit Union (4.8)
  5. Sammons Financial Group Companies (4.8)
  6. Sage Intacct (4.7)
  7. Asana (4.7)
  8. Box (4.7)
  9. Ryan, LLC (4.7)
  10. CarShop (4.7)

Employees at Acuity Insurance "particularly emphasized the company's flexibility, with over a quarter of all reviews in this time period praising the company's flexible working policies, which allow its employees to take time off later if they work more hours earlier in the week," the Glassdoor report stated.

Other reviews highlighted the company's generous work-from-home policies, implemented in response to the pandemic. According to one employee, "Acuity truly embraces work-life balance: it's not just jargon."

Many of the reviews from the other highest-rated companies mention the policies put in place to support work-life balance, including flexible schedules available at companies like South Carolina Federal Credit Union, the ability to work from anywhere in the world at eXp Realty and unlimited paid time off for employees at Asana, Box, RyanLLC, KnowBe4, among many others.

Leading industries for work-life balance

The top industries for work-life balance during COVID-19 were tech (3.8 average work-life balance rating), real estate (3.8) and aerospace and defense (3.8).

The tech industry was already prepared for a smooth transition because historically, it has offered flexible work-from-home policies, greater autonomy for workers and the ability to carry out most work on a laptop, the Glassdoor report said.

Other professional industries with less remote work flexibility, such as retail, restaurants and transportation and logistics, were rated lower for work-life balance, the report said. One interesting exception for retailers was car dealerships. Both CarShop and Bergstrom Automotive were commonly praised by employees for their "family"-like atmosphere and ranked among the 20 highest-rated companies for work-life balance during COVID-19.

Other top industries for work-life balance include finance, nonprofit, retail, accounting, education and government, "reassuring job seekers that they can still find strong work-life balance across industries—no matter their field of work," the Glassdoor report said.

Companies that are highly rated on Glassdoor for work-life balance have supported their employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by offering innovative policies like working from anywhere, unlimited PTO and flexible working schedules. This is critical right now with burnout at an all-time high and people quitting their jobs the "Great Resignation" continues.

This list serves as "a healthy reminder that prioritizing work-life balance in your job search isn't taboo, and there are plenty of companies today that are making conscientious efforts to improve employees' experiences," the report said.

Glassdoor said all the companies on the list had at least 75 work-life balance ratings during the time period.

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