By Frank Konkel
Nearly 90% of Americans believe being in control of their work schedules, along with performance measures, could improve burnout.
Almost two years into the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 7 in 10 working Americans feel burned out with little distinction between work and life, and a majority (58%) believe their job is their main source of mental health challenges.
These data points are part of a study released this month by experience management firm Qualtrics that points to the serious long-term impacts the pandemic—and inherent changes to how and where work is performed—are having on full-time employees.
The findings are particularly concerning for those employees displaced from traditional workplaces now working remotely: 20% say they begin their workdays earlier than before, 18% take fewer sick days and 17% believe they are working more than they did before.
However, the survey, which involved 1,021 full-time employees and 161 government workers, offered some insights regarding how to offset burnout.
More than half (55%) of employees said more flexibility over their hours and schedule would make them more likely to stick with an employer. Employees also favor results-based performance goals over hours-based methodologies. However, across the public and private sectors, only 11% of employees say they have jobs where performance is measured by results and hours spent working are not tracked.
Higher pay, a four-day work week and flexibility to work whenever, wherever were the top three things private and public sector employees said would improve their mental health. Flexibility is important enough for employees that 51% of tech workers and 24% of government workers would be willing to sacrifice 5% or more of their pay to work with control over their hours and location.
“Flexibility has become a buzzword as employees have embraced new styles of working during the pandemic. But it’s important to look deeper at what flexibility really means,” said Benjamin Granger, head of employee experience advisory services at Qualtrics, in a statement. “As work and home life have become increasingly connected—and employees continue juggling childcare responsibilities and caretaking needs for themselves and sick family members—they’re asking for flexible schedules that fit better with the demands of their lives.”