Work-related burnout can affect any employee regardless of gender or job type. That being said, surveys and studies have found a disproportionate increase over the past few years in burnout among working women. In fact, more than a third of women reported they now deal with burnout as a routine part of their job. Below is a brief look into the gender gap in employee burnout as well as some strategies employers can implement to help close it.
Mind The Gap
First, how disproportionate is the gap? A 2019 survey of employees experiencing burnout "always" or "very often" at work reported 30% of women and 27% of men feeling this way. In 2021 those figures changed, with an increase to 34% for women and a slight decrease to 26% for men, further widening the gap.
The major workplace changes over that timeframe due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been linked to the increase. For many, going remote or adopting a hybrid work schedule has been advantageous. However, the increased burnout in women has often been attributed to workplace changes the pandemic introduced, such as changing roles, intersecting challenges and unequal demands.
When burnout reaches unbearable levels, it can lead to increased turnover, with nearly 40% of women actively looking for a new employer citing it as the main reason. It could also lead to more time being taken off work to deal with mental health challenges, as a third of women reported doing last year.
Addressing The Problem
What can employers do to address burnout? While there is no simple fix, the first step is to address the imbalances associated with the expanding gender gap. For instance, one of the top causes of burnout is people feeling they have been treated unfairly. Counter this by reevaluating policies and being mindful of the systemic, procedural and cultural factors which may be affecting women differently than their counterparts.
Another method to identify where burnout exists is to open up the lines of communication. Start with regular check-ins for the whole team with the objective to identify potential risks. Discuss experiences with burnout and assess any problems within company culture. This includes employees who are on-site, remote or in a hybrid set-up.
Doing routine check-ins can work to measure and track the team’s well-being and engagement more accurately. While the information gained from these conversations won’t solve the problems, it helps in driving actionable change. Lastly, consider investing in burnout support programs to help those experiencing workplace strain within the organization.
For further information on addressing the gender gap in employee burnout, please see the accompanying resource.
Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.
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