One year ago today, on March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 crisis was officially declared a pandemic. This past year has challenged dental practices and employees in unprecedented ways. This article will look at how the pandemic has affected employees, the cost of burnout on organizations, and what strategies practice owners and leaders can use to reduce and prevent burnout for employees.Burnout: How Bad Is It?
According to a recent study on the state of burnout and well-being during COVID-19, an overwhelming percentage of employees are feeling the effects of burnout on multiple fronts:
– 89% of employees said their work-life is worse
– 85% of employees said their overall well-being has declined
– 56% of employees said their job demands have increased
– 62% of employees who were struggling to manage their workloads had experienced burnout “often” or “extremely often” in the previous three months.
Other study results indicated that employees scored very high on feelings of exhaustion and cynicism, having a severe disruption in their relationship with work.
According to research from Gallup, the most-cited reason for burnout and decrease in well-being is overwork. While many industries are notorious for long hours, even pre-pandemic, the pandemic has brought on new challenges for employees. Childcare options became limited, and distance learning for children became the norm. According to the Center of American Progress, women are four times more likely to drop out of the labor force than men, with Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women experiencing this even most acutely.
A Very Expensive Problem to Have
First, what is burnout? In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon or syndrome. The WHO says burnout is caused by “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Factors such as excessive workloads, unreasonable time pressures, lack of job control, work-life imbalance, unfair treatment, lack of good leadership can lead to burnout.
At the individual level, burnout can cost employees their mental and physical health and well-being. Burnout can also cause financial and family strain. At the organizational level, the costs are also staggering. Employees who experience burnout are 63% more likely to take sick days, more than 2.5x more likely to leave their jobs and have lower productivity rates. Across organizations, these cumulative costs can have a devastating effect on a company’s bottom line.
Even before the pandemic, a 2019 WHO study found that an estimated $1 trillion is lost in productivity globally each year because of burnout. In the United States, the American Psychological Association found that workplace stress costs the US economy more than $500 billion. Each year, 550 million workdays are lost due to stress on the job.
As employees experience burnout, they are 2.6x more likely to resign from their jobs. According to Deloitte, the cost to replace an employee is between 1.5-2x their annual salary. According to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers, if your company has a high turnover rate, your turnover-related costs can exceed 40% of your company’s income. Even for companies…