How to build a healthy workplace amid the burnout epidemic?

Kasia Gryzlo




Today’s best talent is looking for employers who care about their wellbeing.

Wellbeing programs, which were previously thought of as nice to have, are now seen as essential. When talking about on-demand support for employees we are now moving away from the mindset of "Why should this be the employer's responsibility? Isn't mental health a private matter?"

As it turns out, it is not. Our company, Emplomind, collects anonymous reports from our coaches and counsellors, who record the most commonly discussed problems after each session. Over the last two years, most of the topics were consistently related to:

  • burnout
  • problems with communication and feedback
  • lack of motivation
  • work-related stress and anxiety
  • problems with the management

In short, they were about one thing: work.


The lack of proper support systems drives resignations

We collect these reports in order to hand them over to the HR departments of the companies together with a proposed action plan, so that they know what to do before the problems escalate leading to internal conflicts or resignations. It is hard to keep the best talent these days, when 57% of workers are seriously considering quitting their job. What are they looking for? A more supportive employer.

Even before the pandemic, which took a toll on everyone’s mental health, the rates of depression and burnout among employees were alarmingly high. Today, they are simply devastating. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases in the UK in 2020/21. And in a recent Deloitte survey, 77% of all respondents said they have experienced burnout.

A recent survey suggests that the vast majority of executives believe they are doing enough for their people’s wellbeing. What we know from the same survey, and our own data, is that many employees wouldn’t agree.


How to spot the signs of mental health problems?

People learn to hide their mental health problems out of shame (because of the prevailing stigma) and fear (of losing their job).

While poor mental health may seem invisible, it brings massive losses to companies as it prevents teams from reaching their full potential. In our handbook we explain that the first step to taking care of your employees’ wellbeing is learning how to notice their struggles.

For example, an employee experiencing burnout will likely:

  • become increasingly cynical about work
  • use food or drugs to feel better
  • get unexplained headaches or bowel problems
  • become easily irritated with coworkers or clients

The best wellbeing strategy is a comprehensive one

One way to get a bigger picture of the state of mental health at your workplace is through a wellbeing audit (this can be done internally or with the help of a company like Emplomind).

The next step is developing a comprehensive wellbeing strategy whose components are adjusted to your actual needs. You can learn the basics of wellbeing (and save over 20h of research) in this handbook focused on addressing mental health problems in a post-pandemic UK workplace: Spot the Signs: A Guide to Employee Wellbeing.

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