12 Apr 2022

Businesses told to watch for staff burnout or face productivity drop

4:02 pm on 12 April 2022

Businesses are being urged to change the way they control workload issues as more and more employees think about quitting as a result of Covid-19 related burnout.

Bearded businessman working with team new project. Generic design notebook on wood table

Photo: 123rf

Research from the Auckland University of Technology shows burnt out workers are five times more likely to be considering to resign.

AUT business school professor Jarrod Haar said too often businesses dumped the workload from departing staff onto a now smaller team, which worsened the burnout problem.

That affected employee output even further, he said.

"The literature tells us that burnt out staff are not only much more likely to leave but also less likely to be productive so if you think of that team of six that's now four, those four people doing the job of six will end up doing the job of three people, not four people, because their productivity has been affected."

Haar said focusing on burnout would result in cost benefits for companies as fewer staff would leave.

"One thing we like to do in New Zealand is reward the high performers with more work.

"In this sort of burnout context where everybody is just under the pump and getting exhausted [greater workload is] definitely going to work against you."

The latest data from Haar's ongoing Wellbeing At Work study showed most people who suffered from burnout either did not realise it or could not assess the seriousness of it.

The survey showed 35 percent of respondents had severe burnout but only 4 percent put themselves in that category.

It also found 31 percent had high but not severe burnout, yet one third did not recognise that they suffered from that level of burnout.

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