Burnout rates between men and women in the workforce are widening, according to a new study by The Hartford.

Overall levels of burnout have stayed at a high 61% since the company’s February study, but a late July survey found a seven-point increase in the gap between men and women.

Workplace burnout levels
Source: The Hartford’s July 2021 Future of Benefits Pulse Survey.

The survey polled roughly 2,000 adults in the U.S., with 68% of working women reporting burnout compared to 52% of men.  

The Hartford’s head of employee benefits, Jonathan Bennett, said the numbers should alarm business leaders

“The need for flexibility in the workplace has never been greater as the lines between work and home continue to be blurred amid the pandemic,” explained Bennett.

“Fostering an open, inclusive work environment that provides flexibility is an important step in addressing burnout and helping employees remain productive at work.”

Flexibility Needed

CBIA’s HR counsel, Diane Mokriski, said employers should be aware of the need for flexibility.

“For better or for worse the workplace has changed,” said Mokriski. “To the extent possible, employers may need to consider being more flexible and offering creative solutions in order to address burnout.”

Many people have experienced changes with their children's lives, being in and out of school and most recently, home for the summer.

"Employers may need to consider being more flexible and offering creative solutions in order to address burnout."

CBIA's Diane Mokriski

A May McKinsey analysis suggests the burnout gap could be growing in part due to the responsibilities women have held at home during the pandemic.

“The added burdens at work and at home since the COVID-19 crisis began have pushed roughly 33% of working mothers to consider downshifting their careers or leaving their jobs altogether,” the McKinsey study explained.

Mokriski said families are starting to send their children back to school, but uncertainty remains about when they could get a call their child has been placed under quarantine.

What’s Next?

The Hartford’s latest study also found U.S. workers who are experiencing burnout are more likely to look for a new job than they were a few months ago.

Of the people who said they are “extremely likely” to look for a new job, 55% said they “always feel burned out,” compared to the 16% who selected “often feel burned out.”

Better pay is a top factor motivating their job search, according to the study. Career growth, better benefits and a stronger workplace culture followed behind.

Workers who are experiencing burnout are more likely to look for a new job than they were a few months ago.

Requests from employees to address exhaustion:

  • Additional paid time off (22%)
  • Condensed four-day work week (22%)
  • Schedule flexibility (17%)
  • Remote work options (13%)
  • Company-wide mental health days (13%)
  • Lighter workload (12%)

Mental Health Concerns

Mokriski said a number of Connecticut businesses are making adjustments to their workplaces to retain employees.

Some businesses began offering wellness benefits and perks. In other cases, remote work has also become commonplace.

Four of the top five reasons people file short-term disability claims are mental health conditions.

Mental health concerns continue to be studied in the workplace.

According to The Hartford, data shows unrelated mental health and substance misuse disorders can lead to sudden absences and extended disability claims.

The Hartford’s data shows that four of the top five reasons people file short-term disability claims are mental health conditions, with maternity leave being the exception.