Although not a medical diagnosis, job burnout is a real physical and emotional condition, causing such symptoms as extreme fatigue, lack of job satisfaction, apathy, anxiety, depression, decreased concentration and lowered productivity. In 2019, the World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational syndrome. Moreover, the stressful effects of burnout can be a contributor to more serious diseases.
When it was business as usual with daily commutes and on-site work, burnout was more expected. The move to predominantly remote work in 2020 has given employees more flexibility in how they work, removed stressful commutes and provided potentially healthier and safer work environments with the decrease in shared workspaces.
However, with some companies furloughing employees, other employees have had to pick up the slack, which has added to work pressures. Additionally, many workers have had to balance a different kind of stress with overarching pandemic fears, limited events outside of their homes and managing their work with childcare and/or online education for their children simultaneously. The removal of social interaction through virtual work has also taken away one of the natural stress relievers for some employees living on their own: human contact. As social beings, we tend to thrive best with some level of face-to-face exchanges.
As a result, rather than a decrease in burnout in the past months, a survey by LinkedIn has found a 33% increase in burnout in 2020.