Half of Britons feel burnt out

May 31 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

More than half of British workers claim they have experienced symptoms of over-work or burnout during the past six months, according to new research.

The survey of more than 1,000 people for HR consultancy Hudson found that a third claimed to have suffered exhaustion and a quarter had lost sleep or been ill because of worry about work.

Half said that the problem had got worse over the past five years, blaming the increased pace of business life, an increasingly competitive environment and more demands being placed on fewer staff.

One in seven of the HR managers surveyed said they had lost staff due to burn-out, more than a third have seen a decline in productivity and eight out of 10 reported an increase in sickness absence.

But while more than nine out of 10 employers acknowledged the existence of the problem, a worrying gulf emerged between the proportion of employers who felt it was an issue for their own organisation – just over a third – and the number of their employees – more than half. What's more, almost six out of 10 employers admitted having no systems or processes to help exhausted employees, a figure that falls to a mere one in three smaller companies.

Meanwhile, more than a third of employees said that their employers have made no attempts to address increasing workloads.

John Rose, chief executive of Hudson, said: "Working long hours and being available 24/7 goes with the territory for many UK employees.

"Burnout, however, goes deeper than this. It is worrying that business managers do not appear to be able to increase productivity and hold on to top talent at the same time.

"For employers, an increase in absenteeism, premature career change and a decline in interest and productivity among employees can have a serious long-term effect on businesses success."