Image of woman burnt out at work.

Help wanted; a jack of all trades, a job description all too familiar, pushing the boundaries of realism — a common pitfall of today’s workforce that often leads to significant burnout. 

Yet, if that wasn’t enough, 2020 arrived and tested us beyond measure. As a result, 95% of American workers are now questioning whether or not they should quit their jobs because of stress. 

Here’s How It All Started

As the pandemic swept through the country last year, millions of workers adapted to the foreign reality of remote work. Although employees could now get comfortable in cozy style as they sat in front of their computers, hours of digital meetings ensued. 

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, the average meeting time increased by at least 10 minutes between February 2020 and February 2021. Although it doesn’t sound like much, that meant meetings started to extend from 35 to 45 minutes, allowing less time for other work priorities. 

Additionally, Microsoft Work Trend Index reported teams sending 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per person after hours, a significant increase from years past. Moreover, they’ve seen a 66% increase in the number of individuals working on documents. Consequently, more time spent in a virtual world sent workers spiraling into digital exhaustion. 

Woman stressed while holding kids and working form home.
(Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock)

During the pandemic, employees also experienced intensified levels of both engagement and stress. As a result, their well-being quickly diminished. Gallup, an American analytics and advisory company, described workplace engagement and wellbeing data trends as nothing they’ve ever witnessed before. 

On top of this, homes, once places of comfort and relaxation, became “always-on” offices, making work-life balance harder than ever.

With many fluctuations and adaptations at hand, employees became tired, unmotivated and very clearly burnt out. With this increase in pressured emotions, individuals began to wonder if it was best to simply just quit.

It’s Not Just You Who Wants To Quit

It’s not surprising that after an unprecedented year, a whopping 95% of American workers are currently thinking about finding a new job. Additionally, 92% of workers are willing to switch industries for a new position. But, why? A stark 32% of respondents named work burnout as the most common reason for their willingness to leave. 

The elongated meetings, constant work flow and always-on-the clock model can only go on for so long, and Americans are desperate for a break. But is quitting the answer? Maybe, depending on your personal situation, but there are also some helpful tools to combat work burnout.

Ways to Combat Work Burnout

According to Harvard Health, heavy workloads, lack of community and a mismatch between workplace and personal values can cause burnout. So, do you need a new job, or do you just need to change the way you tackle the work you do?

Woman meditating at work.
(Look Studio / Shutterstock)

It may be a good idea to try out the below tips on how to combat work burnout before quitting. However, only you know what is best for you, so remember to always put yourself first.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Taking a break away from work to unwind and reset can relieve stress. A quick stretch or yoga break will do a lot of good. You can even take short walks during your breaks to improve mobility.

Think Twice About Negative Situations

When something bad happens at work, be sure to give yourself time to reflect on the situation before acting. At a second-glance, the situation may not be as negative as you originally thought. Harvard Health states that people under stress are more likely to look at situations through a negative lens that may not reflect the true situation.

Set Hard Stops

Creating a healthy work life balance is essential. This is especially true for those looking to make remote work their long-term goal. Create boundaries, such as hard stops, to reduce the urge to do one more task after dinner. For example, at 7 p.m., close the door to the office and stop checking work emails and Skype messages.

Have Casual Conversations

Remember that engagement and wellbeing are crucial to happiness at work. It’s okay to talk to your coworkers about non-work related things. Ask how their garden is doing or discuss the last binge-worthy shows you’ve watched. Even if you’re working remotely, take the start of all those extra meetings to catch up while the rest of the attendees join in.

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