General Business

Survey: U.S. Employee Burnout Trending Down, But Still Remains Too High

Employee burnout among the U.S. workforce remains high (45%), but continues trending downward according to new Eagle Hill Consulting research.

Burnout has dropped during the past year (49% in August 2022) and more substantially since the early months of the pandemic (58% in August 2020). Younger workers (52%) and women (48%) continue to report the highest levels of burnout.

As for the top sources of burnout, workers who experience burnout say it’s their workload (51%), staff shortages (45%), and juggling personal and professional life (42%). A large share of workers (67%) say a four-day work week would alleviate stress, followed by a decreased workload and increased flexibility (both at 65%), and continuing to work from home (56%).

When asked about Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), most workers (62%) indicate they do not expect that the nascent technology will impact their stress levels at the job. Yet, a growing body of research indicates that when properly deployed, AI can help improve worker efficiency and productivity. Millennials (30%) and male employees (27%) are most likely to say that AI can help reduce job stress.

These findings are from the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey conducted by Ipsos from August 3-8, 2023. The survey included 1,347 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S.

“It’s good news that worker burnout levels are steadily trending downward since the high stress days of the pandemic,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “But employers shouldn’t be complacent when it comes to taking action to reduce worker burnout. Burnout levels are still too high and could inch upward as more workers are required to return to in-person work. While employees value in-person work, they have expressed concerns about work-life balance and commute times when they are in the workplace.”

“And for the first time, we polled workers on the potential impact of AI on their stress levels,” Jezior said. “This will be an important issue to watch as more companies rollout Generative AI. Handled well, AI has the potential to help workers get more done in a shorter amount of time while creating more value for their organizations. But handled poorly, it could increase rather than decrease worker stress.”

Additional survey findings are as follows:

  • Among those who experience burnout due to staff shortages, 84% said the impact is covering the workload for unfilled positions. Thirty-nine percent said the impact is helping others learn their job, 36% said it’s training new hires, and 22% said it’s recruiting and interviewing new hires.
  • Employees who report burnout signal they are less comfortable telling their manager or employer they feel burnt out as compared to six months ago, with 57%of employees saying they’re open to the conversation, down five percent from August 2022.
  • When asked how to reduce burnout, 67% of workers said a four-day work week would help. Other solutions included increased flexibility (65%), decreased workload (65%), better health and wellness benefits (60%), working from home (56%), reduced administrative burdens (53%), more on-site amenities (50%), and the ability to relocate or work from multiple locations (39%).
  • Nearly a third of the workforce (32%) plans to leave their job in the next 12 months.

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