Study finds 31 percent of Kiwi workers dangerously close to burnout

If you resent your alarm going off and struggle to find the will to work at the moment, you may have a legitimate reason. 

An AUT study of 1000 Kiwis following the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, has found 31 percent of workers are either dangerously close to burnout or have hit the wall.

"We're talking about people with high job anxiety, high depression," professor Jarrod Haar told Newshub. "They won't be sleeping, they may have physical pain… they won't be performing in their job."

It's a phenomenon that's been officially recognised in the International Classification of Diseases.

To fit the 'Burnt Out' bill there are four key indicators - you must be emotionally exhausted, have feelings of indifference to your job, lack emotional control and have trouble staying focussed.

"These are serious cases ...definitely lots of GP visits, lots of medication in some cases - the health costs will be enormous so I have to be honest a lot of the costs will be met by individuals and the taxpayers, not the organisations that might be overloading people," prof Haar said.

The study found:

  • Workers in big firms are 153 percent more likely than those in smaller firms to be burnt out. 
  • Essential workers are 152 percent more likely than non-essential.
  • Managers who pitch in to cover staff are more than 219 percent more likely to be at the end of their tether.
  • The under 30-year-olds are also 206 percent more likely to burn out than their more mature workmates.

Male or female, private or public sector, no one's immune. 

Clinical psychologist Jacqui Maguire said employers "now more than ever" need to be addressing the issue.

"Not only because they have a duty of care, but if they want productive profitable businesses you need staff that are in the best shape," she said.

Northbridge Lifecare Trust is making sure its staff are feeling okay. It brings in a pilates instructor twice a week to strengthen its aged care workers and their relationship with them.  

So, if you're feeling stretched, put your hand up and ask for a time out. It may save you and your workplace in the long run.