Burnout as the biggest riser
The number of employees dropping out with burnout is not the only riser in the list of psychosocial disorders. The number of people with depression also increased by 12% during the same period. Furthermore, we also see that dysthymia(long-term depression) increased by 26% anxiety disorders increased by 22% . Also notable is the 34% increase in malaise and fatigue. Half of these individuals are diagnosed with burnout after 7 months.
Increased workload as biggest factor
Surely these are alarming figures to call. The huge increase has several explanations according to Bruyneel “As unemployment falls, the number of people on disability rises. And also the higher retirement age increases the number of mental health complaints,” Bruyneel said. But other elements also play a role. “We see from research that the workload has increased and that emotional well-being in the workplace is decreasing.”
Also, working from home has a huge impact on employee well-being. “There are people who yearn to work from home more. The risk of burnout is much higher for those who are allowed to telecommute less than desired. But at the same time, there are also employees who yearn for contacts with colleagues due to a lot of working from home.” Bruyneel said.
Investing more in prevention is the message
Employers play a crucial role in preventing this alarming trend. Investing in the mental and physical health of employees is no luxury.
There are several solutions to reduce burnout. One of these is the regular interrogation of employees. Preferably short questionnaires where employees get immediate (science-based) feedback and can link to their HR department.
Another possibility is to get the entire company moving more. Science makes a direct link between more exercise and happier employees. This can be done through team building, walking meetings, organizing a challenge or rewarding healthy behaviors such as walking, biking, exercising or meditating daily.
In every problem also lies an opportunity. In the rapidly changing job market, you better be an interesting company. As an employer, you can stand out by offering structural solutions to employees around mental and physical health. By investing in preventive solutions on and off the job, we are turning this negative trend into something positive.