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3/5/2017 Feeling Burned Out at Work?

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Feeling Burned Out at Work? Join the
The problem appears to be worsening, resulting in steep turnover and health costs

Feb. 28, 2017 8:00 a.m. ET

Workers who used to take the lead on projects grow taciturn during meetings. Top
performers start coming in late, leaving early and watch their careers stall. Others
struggle to get out of bed in the morning, feeling that they just can’t do one more thing.

Burnout is claiming victims at work, and companies aren’t ready to cope, say psychology
and human-resources experts. An always-on work culture, combined with feelings of job
insecurity and directives to do more with less—even when business is booming—has
driven workers to the breaking point, they say. And the problem appears to be
worsening, resulting in steep turnover and health costs.

Stress and anxiety are cited in 70% of the calls placed to phone-counseling lines at
Workplace Options, a provider of employee-assistance programs; in 2014, 50% of callers
complained of those feelings. Total calls to those counseling lines reached 42,500 last
month, an 18% increase from 2016’s average.

Gallup’s most recent large-scale survey about burnout in the U.S., conducted in 2012,
found that more than 40% of workers were so stressed at work they felt burned out. A
more recent survey of German workers, conducted in 2015, found that nearly a quarter
felt burned out.

During the financial crisis, companies held back on hiring plans and asked existing staff
to do more while times were tough. Nearly a decade on, the lack of certainty and
stability appears to have become a permanent fixture of the workplace, said Alan King,
Workplace Options’ president and chief operating officer.

Workers aren’t “assertive about their boundaries
MORE because they fear for their jobs,” said Alden Cass, a
How to Tell If You Are Burned Out Manhattan-based clinical psychologist who treats
patients with high-stress jobs. Burnout begins when a
worker feels overwhelmed for a sustained period of time,
then apathetic and ultimately numb, he said.

Those feelings—historically more common in professions such as medical resident and
litigator, jobs known for round-the-clock schedules and high pressure—are growing
widespread. “Everyone’s job is now an extreme job,” said Jeanne Meister, a consultant
who advises Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. on workplace issues.

Executives who largely shrugged off burnout complaints five years ago are starting to
acknowledge the toll that stress is taking on their businesses—in part because they’re
suffering from it, too, said Mr. King.­burned­out­at­work­join­the­club­1488286801?mod=e2fb 1/2

overtime is down. Some employees chose to sleep in their cars rather than go home for the break between shifts. non­commercial use only. fearing it will be “wildly expensive” to fix. for a smaller number. but we were suffering the whole time. Berkeley who researches­burned­out­at­work­join­the­club­1488286801?mod=e2fb 2/2 . Beam Suntory Inc. said Janelle Mudd. unable to really focus. distillery to log mandatory overtime. this burnout feeling. “We’ve put in place a new leadership team at [two] plants and hired 23 new full-time employees. Beam Suntory’s chief supply-chain officer. sometimes enduring 12-hour shifts for as much as a week at a time. A rising demand for American whiskey forced workers at the Clermont.wsj. too. “This is not a solution for the stress problems we’re having on the job. Some firms add yoga or mindfulness to calm frazzled nerves. maybe this feeling. clients or customers visit http://www. Most companies remain resistant to even talking about burnout.djreprints. Mudd. if I could just go somewhere else. said Ms. Maslach called window dressing. a professor emerita at University of California. https://www. Dr. Maslach said. said Christina Maslach. Long hours and heavy work loads are fueling turnover. she said. and Future Workplace LLC. “Productivity is up. and the culture continues to improve at these facilities.3/5/2017 Feeling Burned Out at Work? Join the Club ­ WSJ Health-care costs related to work stress range from an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion annually. Companies must first figure out why workers are overwhelmed. Inc.feintzeig@wsj. efforts Dr. requiring expensive programs or new hires. ‘Well. Co-workers felt tired and hopeless. the company agreed to hire more full-time employees and limit mandatory overtime. After a worker strike last an executive vice president at insurance broker and consultant NFP Corp. To order presentation­ready copies for distribution to your colleagues. “Folks are thinking. burnout was responsible for more than 50% of employee exits. Ky. The bourbon business was “doing Copyright ©2017 Dow Jones & Company. nearly half of HR professionals said burnout was driving up to 50% of annual turnover.” she said. which advises companies on burnout.’ ” said Kim Davis. according to a 2016 paper from researchers at Harvard Business School and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.” David Hunter. said in a statement. All Rights Reserved This copy is for your personal..” Bringing workers back from the burnout zone takes effort. Ms. president of the local union.” Write to Rachel Feintzeig at rachel. Mudd and a company executive said things have improved. In a survey conducted last November by software company Kronos Inc. is going to go away.