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Not-so-surprising evidence proves burnout at work is about loneliness

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(BUSINESS NEWS) Feeling burnout from work? A new study may give you some talking points with your boss.

There’s more to it

According to a new study on burnout, not only is the problem significantly increasing, but the causes are more diverse than we assume.

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For starters, “close to 50 percent of people say they are often or always exhausted due to work,” and it’s increased 32 percent from 20 years ago. Further, studies are showing a significant correlation between exhaustion and loneliness, according to this article from the Harvard Business Review.

One thing leads to another

Why might that be the case? Exhaustion at work could certainly cause you to be less social outside of work. If you’re working long hours (something that could reasonably be assumed about people exhausted by their work), you’re spending more time alone in an environment where you would normally be interacting with people.

As stress and exhaustion mounts, you may feel more isolated in those extremes, which also makes you feel like no one could understand what you are going through.

No matter how it happens, it’s bad for individuals (reduced longevity, mental illness, reduced ability to fight physical illness) and for companies (absenteeism, accidents, lower profits and share prices).

So, if loneliness is contributing to burnout, is greater interaction at work the cure?

Get to know your co-workers

There’s a lot of research quoted in the Harvard Business Review article to suggest that the answer is yes. For starters, UK research shows that workers tend to value positive co-worker relationships above all else for job happiness. Those positive relationships build up inclusiveness and self-esteem, which can boost productivity.

So, how do companies foster this kind of environment?

It’s easy enough to say “create an inclusive culture,” but what does that really look like?

Creating greater points of connectivity is a good start.

Whether it be based on professional needs or personal similarities, people tend to network at the office on their own, however, you can build in social touch points. Offering cross-team training opportunities, setting up new hires with onboarding partners, and hosting events around personal interests can bring your employees closer together.

Finally, look for opportunities to share and applaud successes as a team, so folks can share those wins together.

Taking these steps into consideration, companies can reduce the isolation that is tied to employee burnout.

#workplaceburnout

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