Managers fear employees at risk of 'burnout' due to COVID-19 changes

Just under half of managers believe their employees may be at a higher risk of ‘burnout’ due to the changing work pattern brought on by COVID-19.

This is according to Robert Walters, a specialist professional recruitment company, report ‘Burning the Candle: Strategies to Combat Workplace Burnout’ which found that 47 per cent of managers fear their employees may suffer from ‘burnout’ due to the challenges COVID-19 has brought to working.

Over a third of staff (36 per cent) have said their mental health has suffered during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite 35 per cent stating they have been more productive whilst remote working, 87 per cent have felt more pressure to keep productivity levels high to prove the case to their employers to allow remote working post-COVID-19.

in 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised ‘burnout’ as a legitimate medical diagnosis.

Even though almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of workers think that wellness policies are important, only a third of companies offer what is required by law to their employees.

According to the Robert Walters’ Burnout Guide, there are six key areas which can lead to or exasperate workplace burnout. They are:

  • Unmanageable workload expectations
  • Lack of autonomy and control
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor company culture
  • Lack of equal opportunities and fairness
  • Lack of purpose


Sam Walters, director of professional services at Robert Walters said:

There is no denying that mental health & wellbeing has been on the agenda for most employers – even pre-Covid.

Increasingly we were seeing offices be re-designed ergonomically, work health insurances enhanced to provide mental health support, and training provided to managers to help understand and deal with employees suffering from poor mental health.

Many of these policies were geared around personal mental health issues – such as depression and anxiety – which have an impact or were exasperated by work.

Burnout is an entirely different and recently recognised condition which, unlike other mental health issues, can be directly linked to work. As a result, employers have a crucial and central role to play in order to ensure their staff do not reach the point of burnout.

In order to collate the research for this report, Robert Walters spoke to 2,000 UK professionals and 500 UK managers.