What Employers Should Learn From the Burnout Battle

July 1, 2015 Amanda Salem


When we released the results of our inaugural Workplace Index story on Monday, people immediately picked up on—and agreed with—the fact that today’s workers are overworked and burned out. Then, people picked up on the happiness factor, and there was less agreement (and more discussion) on whether or not we’re actually happy while being burned out.

And then, as reporters and professionals looked at the full report, other insights started to surface—how do different generations think of their workplace culture? How does management feel about work/life balance as opposed to on-the-ground employees? And the one that raised a few eyebrows: how do men and women view their workplace?

CNBC’s data journalists pored over the stats and came up with this hot-button insight, with one CNBC editor predicting it might spark… interesting discussion.


Jokes aside, this insight brings up a good point about office culture and how employers must address it: “workers” or “employees” are not a monolith, and there will be differences in how people view their jobs based on a number of factors. Earlier in the week, as I spoke with Michelle Boolton about workplace trends, we chatted about how many businesses are looking to change their office culture and elevate it to something more innovative, more productive, or even cooler. But too often, these culture shifts are pushed from management down, rather than coming organically from the employees who will actually inform, live and grow the office culture. This creates culture clash, contributing to dissatisfaction and—you guessed it—job burnout.

The challenges in most offices might not be as obvious (or complicated) as a gender divide or a generational divide, but as businesses seek to define and illustrate their culture and values through design, technology, policies and more, it’s important that they get input from their employees and guidance from HR so that the culture fits the staff you have and the staff you want to have. Then you’ll be ushering in welcome change and hopefully helping your hard-working employees to keep from feeling burned out on the job.

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