Burnout is about the workplace, not the people in it. Fun* fact: Almost 70 per cent of workers in the UK are experiencing high levels of burnout, with over a quarter of them (29 per cent) attributing the cause of their stress to feeling overwhelmed with mounting workloads. One of the sectors suffering the most? You guessed it: accountancy, banking and finance.
“Of course”, you might think; “It’s part of the job and I need to manage it better”. But here’s the thing; we’ve been taught to think of burnout as an individual problem. Do more yoga! Learn to say no! Breathe better, work less, practise resilience, exercise more – just fix YOU.
But more and more evidence is showing that none of these self-help tips are going to help what is actually becoming a rapidly evolving workplace phenomenon. In fact, these band-aid solutions could be doing more harm than good.
It’s not you, it’s them
Did you know that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised ‘burnout’ as an occupational phenomenon, not a medical condition, in 2019? This means the responsibility for managing it has shifted away from the individual and towards the organisation. You see, it’s not on you – it’s on your boss to build a burnout strategy.
And it’s very much in their interest to do so. Worldwide, 615 million suffer from depression and anxiety and, according to a WHO study, this costs the global workforce an estimated $1trillion in lost productivity each year. Companies without systems to support the wellbeing of their employees have higher turnover, lower productivity and higher healthcare costs, with studies showing burned-out employees are 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job, 63 per cent more likely to take a sick day, and 23 per cent more likely to visit A&E.
FIVE Reasons For Burnout
And the reasons for burnout? According to a survey of 7,500 full-time employees by Gallup they are:
- Unfair treatment at work
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of role clarity
- Lack of communication and support from their manager
- Unreasonable time pressure
The list clearly shows that burnout isn’t about the individual, but rather the lack of strategy at leadership level. It’s up to those at the top to ask why their staff are so unhealthy and unhappy. Oftentimes leaders could save themselves a huge amount of employee stress and subsequent burnout, if they were just better at asking people what they need.
If it feels like the leader of your organisation never asks, just assumes, then it’s probably time to move on. If you’re in a constant state of physical and emotional exhaustion, then it’s definitely time to find a new role. Burnout can cause our bodies to enter a state of stress, heightening symptoms of anxiety and depression, decreased motivation and difficulty sleeping.
It can also take a toll on our physical health as it can be a significant predictor of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory problems, among others. You see, finding a company that cares about your wellbeing is no longer a nice-to-have – the health of your mind and body depend on it.
If you’re ready for a move (and you probably are if you’re still reading), then here are three companies definitely worth considering – and there are plenty more to discover on the Job Board too.
Online Fintech iwoca is based in London and offers credit facilities to small businesses trading in the UK and Germany via an automated lending platform. “We’re an independent company custom-built for small businesses – and our goal is to provide straightforward access to finance where and when your business needs it,” is the company’s mission statement.
It seems to inspire similarly straightforward and broadly positive reviews from current and previous employees, who have rated the company 4.2 out of five on employer ratings website Glassdoor. “generally a fun, collaborative and nice work environment”, “iwoca value the team feel very highly” and “iwoca is very fast paced and always changing/improving, this suits me and the people who work here, but it may not suit everyone”, are just some of the comments team members have shared.
Sound like your kind of organisation? There are some fantastic roles on offer.
Named one of the Best Places To Work in 2021, Xero takes the wellbeing of its employees seriously, appointing a Global Head of Wellbeing in 2020.
It launched a number of wellbeing initiatives, including a new Xero wellbeing hub and a mental health toolkit for people leaders. It also introduced lifestyle leave, repositioned sick leave as wellbeing leave, and provided an extra wellbeing day to all employees for World Mental Health Day.
Xero offers a range of other leave options too, including volunteer leave that helps our people give back to the communities where they live and work. Its partnership with BeyondBlue and access to the Benestar Employee Assistance Program also empowers employees to seek help when they need it.
If this has piqued your interest, there are some top jobs to apply for right now.
The largest professional services network in the world, Deloitte is one of the Big Four, and is making wellbeing a priority globally.
It believes that all its people should thrive in both their work and personal lives and its wellbeing programme provides the resources and tools for each Deloittian (their words, not ours) to do just that.
Just ask Deloitte’s chief wellbeing officer, Jen Fisher, whose job it is ‘to empower all of employees to be their best selves professionally and personally’.
Want to work at Deloitte? Here’s a whole host of great jobs worth exploring.
*Obviously depends on your definition of fun.