A woman sitting at a desk working at a large computer screen. She is pinching the bridge of her nose, showing she is suffering from burnout.
Image: © Rido/Stock.adobe.com

Employee burnout among top concerns for employers, Aon survey finds

28 May 2021

A new survey found that many employers are concerned about employee wellbeing, but only one in two have a comprehensive strategy to address this.

Work-life balance is the number one wellbeing issue concerning Irish employers, closely followed by mental health and employee burnout.

That’s according to a new survey from Aon, carried out by Ipsos, which highlighted the top wellbeing risks impacting company performance right now.

In the survey, 70pc of employers in Ireland identified work-life balance as the top wellbeing risk currently facing their employees. Two-thirds of respondents marked mental health as a concern, 45pc referenced the current working environment and 39pc highlighted employee burnout.

‘Leaders will need to ensure there is no disconnect between the requirements of employees and the wellbeing supports available’

The findings are part of a global wellbeing survey, which found that companies that improve employee wellbeing by 4pc see a 1pc increase in company profit and a 1pc decrease in employee turnover.

However, while 82pc of global respondents said employee wellbeing is important at their company, only 55pc have a comprehensive wellbeing strategy in place.

There have been several startling statistics over the past year regarding employee wellbeing.

Last summer, in a Glassdoor survey of UK workers, 40pc said they had experienced heightened anxiety since the beginning of Covid-19 restrictions, 34pc had experienced more sleeplessness and 22pc were experiencing greater levels of depression. It also suggested that women were experiencing greater levels of work-related stress than men during the pandemic.

In March of this year, a report from Laya Healthcare claimed that employees working from home had put in almost 300m hours in overtime since the pandemic began.

However, speaking to Siliconrepublic.com last year, resilience coach Siobhán Murray said employees don’t even necessarily need to be overworking to feel the effects of burnout.

“I describe burnout to be emotional, physical and mental exhaustion brought on by emotionally demanding situations,” she said. “Your workload might actually be fine, if we’re using it in a work capacity, but it’s the emotions. Maybe you’re working with toxic co-workers or a toxic boss. It’s not the workload.”

Wellbeing more important than ever

Ian Thornton, managing director of health and benefits at Aon in Ireland, said the shift to remote working and the prevalence of a multigenerational workforce has made employee wellbeing “more important than ever before”.

He added that while the Aon survey showed that 96pc of businesses in Ireland have at least one employee wellbeing initiative in place compared to 86pc of companies in Europe, wellbeing is about much more than an individual programme.

“It requires leadership support and buy-in to create a wellbeing strategy and business culture that can positively impact employees and company performance,” he said.

“Over the coming months, business leaders will need to ensure there is no disconnect between the requirements of employees and the wellbeing supports available to them.

“As hybrid working becomes a way of life for many, companies will need to support the rapidly changing needs of employees – not just physical wellbeing, but increasingly, emotional wellbeing including addressing work-life balance and burnout challenges, as well as financial wellbeing.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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