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Burnout Among Employees Study Finds

The latest report from the HR management system, Isolved, highlights the pervasive issue of burnout among employees, underscoring its significant impact on productivity. According to the findings, a staggering 72% of employees acknowledge that burnout has adversely affected their performance. The report, titled ‘Uncovering the Significant HR Trends of 2024 to Maximise Your Next-Best Step,” delves into the evolving landscape of HR and sheds light on the changing needs and desires of the modern workforce, offering insights on how employers can enhance support for their employees.

Key revelations from the report indicate that 88% of employees now prioritise having a job that is personally fulfilling. Furthermore, over half of the surveyed workforce (53%) expressed a desire for increased opportunities to develop their skills, while 52% emphasised the importance of a more flexible work environment. Notably, internal communication emerged as a critical factor, with 19% of employees expressing a need for improvement in this area, surpassing the importance of “Pay employees market value” (18%).

The survey findings emphasise the crucial need for organisations to create a next-level employee experience that aligns with the genuine concerns and priorities of their workforce. As businesses navigate the challenges of recruiting and retaining top talent in 2024, success hinges on a strategic focus that addresses the evolving expectations of employees.

Signs of Burnout Among Employees in the Workplace

Recognising signs of burnout among employees involves vigilant observation for behavioural and performance changes.

Decreased Performance

As burnout takes its toll, employees may struggle to maintain the same level of productivity and engagement they once exhibited. Tasks that were previously handled with ease may become challenging, and the quality of work may suffer. This decline often stems from a combination of physical and emotional exhaustion, making it difficult for employees to focus, make decisions, and sustain the necessary level of effort.

Increased Absenteeism

If burnout intensifies, employees may find themselves needing more time away from work to cope with physical and emotional fatigue. This heightened absenteeism can manifest as frequent sick days or unplanned leave, disrupting workflow and impacting team dynamics. The rise in absenteeism serves as a clear indicator that employees are struggling to balance their workload and personal wellbeing, underscoring the need for proactive measures to address burnout within the workplace.

Emotional Exhaustion

As the demands of work accumulate, individuals experiencing burnout may find themselves overwhelmed, leading to a profound sense of emotional weariness. This exhaustion can manifest in a diminished capacity to manage stress, remain resilient in the face of challenges, and sustain a positive outlook. Emotional exhaustion often results in a detachment from one's work and colleagues, as individuals grapple with the mental and emotional toll of prolonged stress.

Withdrawal from Colleagues

Individuals may also increasingly disengage from social interactions within the workplace. This withdrawal can manifest as a reluctance to participate in team activities, a decline in communication with co-workers, and an overall distancing from the social fabric of the workplace. The need for solitude becomes pronounced, as individuals seek to cope with the demands of their roles and the toll of burnout in isolation.

Inability to Disconnect

With burnout some may find it increasingly challenging to mentally disengage from job responsibilities, even during non-working periods. The constant preoccupation with work-related matters can lead to heightened stress levels and prevent the essential rest and recovery needed for sustained wellbeing. This inability to disconnect often results in a blurred boundary between professional and personal life, contributing to a cycle of exhaustion and diminished overall job satisfaction.

What Can Leaders do to Prevent Burnout Among Employees?

Leaders can proactively mitigate burnout among employees by implementing strategies that prioritise wellbeing.

Promote Work-Life Balance

Encouraging employees to strike a harmonious equilibrium between professional responsibilities and personal wellbeing not only enhances job satisfaction but also mitigates the risk of burnout. Leaders can facilitate work-life balance by respecting boundaries, discouraging excessive overtime, and advocating for reasonable workload expectations.

Open Communication

Leaders who encourage transparent and candid dialogue create an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing concerns, sharing challenges, and seeking support. Regular check-ins, team meetings, and one-on-one discussions serve as vital platforms for understanding the evolving needs and stressors of the workforce. By actively listening and responding empathetically, leaders can identify potential burnout triggers early on and implement targeted interventions.

Set Realistic Expectations

Leaders should collaborate with their employees to establish clear, achievable goals that align with both individual capabilities and overall team objectives. By ensuring that expectations are reasonable and attainable, leaders empower their team members to perform at their best without succumbing to undue stress or pressure. This approach not only prevents burnout but also fosters a positive work environment where employees feel supported rather than overwhelmed.

Encourage Flexibility

Recognising that every employee has unique needs and responsibilities, leaders should champion flexible work arrangements such as remote work options or adjustable working hours. This flexibility allows individuals to better manage their personal and professional commitments, promoting a healthier work-life balance. By providing the autonomy to choose when and where work is conducted, leaders empower their team members to navigate their roles more efficiently, reducing stress and enhancing overall job satisfaction.

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