Google searches of 'signs of burnout' increase by over 200%

There has been a 221% spike in searches for signs of burnout in the last three months, according to Google search data.

With winter approaching, when metal health concerns typically surge, health and wellbeing company Westfield Health has urged HR to turn its attention to the issue.

Excessive stress is one of the key predictors of burnout, according to a study of over 500 UK companies by Vape Club, which found almost half of UK employees (47%) experienced excessive stress at work in the last year.

Burnout risks in the workplace:

Younger workers feel empowered to make changes in their workplace

Employees want more empathetic leaders, new Facebook research finds

HR in post-COVID burnout

Workers face ongoing burnout risk

The issue is having a significant impact on retention: one in eight have considered leaving their job due to work-related stress, and one in ten have quit their job.

Symptoms of excessive stress include an inability to sleep (reported by 41%), physical health impacts (30%), and withdrawing from social interactions and relationships (26%).

Richard Holmes, director of wellbeing at Westfield Health, said: “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.

“Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.”


What can HR team do to tackle excessive stress?

Life coach Claire Brown said companies should encourage employees to prioritise their health and wellbeing above productivity.

She said: “Companies should look to encourage employees to have input into the organisation of tasks, duties, and priorities and be invited to engage at every possible level in devising an in-house stress management policy.

As always, communication is key. It’s important for employers to be fair and realistic about what is possible and to seek opportunities to provide practical support to help team members manage their workload.”

A quarter (26%) of employees reported the greatest cause of excessive stress in their job was unmanageable workload.

This was followed by financial concerns, with 24% saying their stress comes from inadequate pay as they struggled to keep up with bills.

Holmes recommended HR step in to try and prevent burnout before it becomes a larger issue in organisations.

He added: “Policies like turning off email servers outside of working hours helps ring-fence valuable recovery time. Mental health first aid training can also help managers spot the signs or triggers and put preventions in place.”

Leadership also plays a significant role in employee stress - yet almost a fifth (18%) of employees said their management was poor or lacking, and 17% said they did not feel support from their company.