Burnout risk | Wayfair CEO warns staff to expect 'working long hours' as firm bids to stay profitable

Wayfair CEO warns staff to expect 'working long hours' as firm bids to stay profitable

Wayfair’s CEO has told employees to expect long hours and to ‘blend and balance’ their work with their personal lives as the company looks to maintain its recovery from a tough period.

CEO and co-founder of the furniture giant, Niraj Shah told employees in an internal email that the firm is making a profit again and is "back to winning” but warned that laziness would not be ‘rewarded with success’.

In the email, obtained by Business Insider, Shah told staff: "Working long hours, being responsive, blending work and life, is not anything to shy away from.

"There is not a lot of history of laziness being rewarded with success."

He also stated that the idea staff should not work late was “laughably false”.

Shah wrote: "Hard work is essential for success, and a key part of getting things done. Everyone deserves to have a great personal life — everyone manages that in their own way — ambitious people find ways to blend and balance the two."

A Wayfair spokesperson said: "We are incredibly proud of our world-class team and culture of open communication.

"In his note, Niraj was reinforcing some of the values that have contributed to Wayfair's success, including questioning the status quo, being cost-efficient and working hard together to drive results."

The risk of burnout

Wayfair’s CEO is expecting his staff to work longer and harder, and they are far from alone in facing such demands. A recent study from Deloitte revealed that a staggering 91% of professionals work beyond their contracted hours, compromising their wellbeing and, consequently, organisational productivity.

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And whilst it may well be the responsibility of managers to mitigate burnout in their teams, it seems that many are not equipped to deal with the issue. Microsoft's Work Trend Index recently found that 53% of managers report feeling burned out themselves, actually surpassing the average for employees.

This unprecedented situation has left managers grappling with heightened responsibilities, managing evolving demands with limited resources, and often receiving little recognition for their efforts. To combat burnout effectively, it is crucial for leadership and HR to grasp the components of burnout and take proactive measures.

What burnout really means

Burnout, as defined by researcher Christina Maslach, manifests as exhaustion, cynicism, and a perceived lack of professional accomplishment. Microsoft's research identifies six key factors contributing to burnout: unsustainable workload, lack of control, insufficient rewards, absence of a supportive community, perceived unfairness, and a mismatch of values and skills.

The study highlights the unique challenges managers face, juggling high workloads and the responsibility of ensuring their teams thrive. The consequences of burnout among managers are dire—reduced productivity and increased turnover. Managers experiencing all three dimensions of burnout are a staggering 5.3 times more likely to leave their positions, underscoring the urgency for organisations to address this issue head-on.

Mitigating burnout among managers requires a multifaceted approach. Meaningful work, continuous learning and career development, flexible work arrangements, psychological safety, and self-care emerge as critical levers in combating burnout. Organizations must foster an environment where managers feel comfortable discussing their challenges, seeking support, and actively participating in creating a healthy work culture.

The Rise of Globally Distributed Teams

The Rise of Globally Distributed Teams

While arguments over remote work continue, a quieter movement is rapidly overtaking hesitancy in the headlines: the rise of distributed work.

Employees discovered increased mobility and flexibility through remote work, while businesses grappled with uncertain budgets and new challenges to measure productivity and engagement.

Download this report to understand how distributed workforces are growing; how companies are optimising their headcount and operational costs in the age of remote work; and what different groups see in the future for remote work.

What you’ll learn from this report:

  • The most critical advantages businesses gain in international hiring

  • Why businesses use remote and distributed work policies to increase retention and productivity

  • The emerging employer of record (EOR) model for increased speed, flexibility, and compliance

  • Where leaders and employees expect remote work to grow or shrink in the next five years

  • Comparisons of in-office, hybrid, and fully remote organisations, and their respective advantages

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As we delve into the statistics of burnout across industries, a concerning trend emerges. Future Forum's research indicates that burnout has reached an all-time high since spring 2021, with over 40% of full-time workers reporting burnout. Two vulnerable groups stand out—women and workers under 30. Gen Z and younger Millennials, entering the workforce amid the pandemic's uncertainties, grapple with high stress levels, lack of autonomy, and economic concerns.

For women, the burnout gender gap continues to widen, with intersecting stressors such as gender inequities, lack of promotions, and the burden of unpaid labour exacerbating the issue. The worsening child-care crisis adds another layer of stress, with women facing challenges in maintaining work-life balance.

Deloitte's marketplace survey delves into the drivers and impact of burnout, revealing that 77% of respondents have experienced burnout, with many feeling their employers fall short in addressing the issue. Workplace culture, recognition from leadership, and effective well-being programs emerge as pivotal factors in preventing burnout.

As we stand on the precipice of 2024, burnout threatens to become the workplace epidemic of the year. It demands a collective effort from leaders, organisations, and employees to prioritise mental health, redefine work cultures, and implement strategies that foster a sustainable and supportive professional environment. The challenge is clear, and the response must be swift and comprehensive to prevent burnout from becoming an enduring legacy of our times.

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