29 Aug Millenials Work Burnout
Millenials Work Burnout
Work disillusionment is a very real and pervasive issue in today’s society, and if not curbed at the organizational level, it can lead to burnout, a more severe version of disillusionment that can be described as the opposite of grit. However, before delving into solutions for the issue of burnout, we must understand what it is, and how it is different from plain exhaustion.
According to Gallup, 3 out of 10 millennials are often or always burned out at work, with 7 out of 10 experiencing some form of burnout within their careers. Burnout costs billions of US dollars of healthcare, and those experiencing it are twice as likely to say that work interferes with non-work activities with family and friends.
One good night of sleep and a day of self-care can clear up the issue of work exhaustion, however burnout is a more deeply rooted issue than just being physically drained. Burnout is consistent disillusionment, pessimism, frustration, futility, and other negative sentiments towards one’s career. Millennials care more about having a purpose in their careers compared to having a hefty paycheck, so the effect of losing meaning in their careers will be greater in millennials than in the previous generation.
According to Time Magazine, there are ways for these millennials to shift their perspectives towards their work, including instilling an optimistic attitude to battle pessimistic thoughts about their work performance, seeking new meaning in their work, and using their (limited) free time to invest in strengthening their interpersonal relationships. Although work may be exhausting, it’s important not to neglect the interpersonal relationships you have outside of work. Don’t isolate yourself due to work burnout. Studies have shown that those who increase their socializing (up to their comfort levels) are those who handle stress the best. According to Shawn Anchor, ‘social connection is the greatest predictor of happiness we have’
However, the effects of these mindset shifts are limited compared to how changes in organization can affect work burnout.
According to the Harvard Business Review, companies have overestimated the effect that digitization has on the productive powers of their employees, believing rapid digitization to increase productivity through streamlining the act of multitasking. However, studies have shown that switching between tasks, such as replying an email in the middle of completing another task, increases the time required to finish those tasks by 25%. There is also the phenomenon of excessive collaboration, in which more meetings and calls and consultations with stakeholders are done than what is necessary, which reduces productivity because the employees are constantly having their attention taken off their main tasks to take part in these excessive collaborations, which as stated above, increases time to accomplish tasks by 25%.
Executives can make changes to reduce burnout and increase productivity by decreasing the amount of unnecessary collaboration, freeing up time and attention for their employees to focus. Executives can also shift the role of team managers to become more coach-like. Input from millennials has shown that they would like their managers to give feedback on their work and be willing to listen to work-related concerns. As previously stated, millennials are losing meaning in their work, and managers can play an important role in re-inserting purpose into their careers.
Once these steps have been taken, there must also be coordination between the employee and the employer. If you feel like your career no longer suits you, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break or switching careers. It isn’t ‘entitled’ to want to make money out of something that fulfills you not just financially but also personally. However, those employees who love their careers and projects, but may feel burned out by expectations, heavy workloads, over-multitasking, may find merit in having a conversation with their superiors on how to reshape the way they do their work.
While this thought might seem terrifying, ultimately, superiors desire productivity, which is often lost through work burnout. The best managers will want the best results from their team, which will be facilitated through effective communication from the employees to their managers.
Photo By : Ethan Hu on Unsplash