Survey: Half of Employees Cite Mental Health as Top Cause of Burnout

Thanks in large part to the isolating and disruptive effects of the pandemic, the mental health of their employees has become a primary focus for many companies in recent years – and with good reason. More than half of employees (53%) in a recent survey from Chicago-based IPA 100 firm Grant Thornton LLP (FY21 net revenue of $1.97 billion) cited mental and emotional stress as a top reason for burnout.

The firm’s 2023 State of Work in America survey of 5,000 full-time employees of U.S. companies found that 61% of respondents reported experiencing burnout in the past year. In addition to mental and emotional stress as the top reason behind this burnout, survey participants also pointed to long hours (42%), workload (42%) and people shortages (41%) as other common causes.

When asked about how their well-being has changed in the past 12 months, 26% of respondents noted a worsening state of financial well-being, while 25% cited a decline in mental well-being and 21% saw physical deterioration.

“Mental and physical well-being concerns are top of mind for employees,” notes Angela Nalwa, people and organization practice leader and managing director at Grant Thornton. “When an organization embraces a culture of well-being, it translates into employees performing at their highest level.”

Other findings from the State of Work survey:

  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents named benefits as a top reason they’re staying at their current place of employment, while 35% chose base pay and 24% selected job security.
  • The ongoing talent crunch has a significant impact on employee strain, with people shortages ranking as the top stressor out of 20 different areas to choose from; length of workday/week and work/life balance rounded out the top three.
  • In terms where they prefer to do their work, the remote versus in-office tide seems to be shifting, with the percentage of respondents wanting to work completely at home falling to just 16% and those wanting to work 1-2 days a week representing 15%; meanwhile, 51% prefer to work 4-5 days in the office – up from 33% last year.

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