Canadian Underwriter

Are you burned out and mentally strained? The club is growing

October 8, 2020   by Adam Malik

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Employees across Canada are feeling more burned out now than they were a year ago, according to one survey, while other reports highlight mental health challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

Professionals report that they are drowning in work and feeling drained these days, according to staffing firm Robert Half. Fully one-third of employees said they’re more burned out today than they were at this time last year.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Of the 1,100 workers and senior managers surveyed by Robert Half, 40% said they have a fuller plate of work that is pushing up their levels of fatigue. Furthermore, almost half (49%) said they’re just as burned out as they were a year ago while fewer than one-in-five (18%) reported a drop in burnout.

The pandemic has pushed companies to become leaner, observed David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. As a result, workloads have increased and employees are having to balance that with life pressures as they work from home.

As the pandemic continues to affect businesses, a recent RBC Insurance report observes: “It’s clear that employee mental health and overall well-being is suffering as they face fears about the transmission of COVID-19, financial uncertainty, and deal with the impacts of long-term social isolation.”

In its own polling, RBC Insurance found that 62% of employed or recently laid-off workers currently ranked their mental health as excellent as good. That’s down four points from last year. Fewer than half (45%) ranked their financial health as excellent or good since the pandemic.

A Sun Life poll found that nearly 60% of Canadians say their mental health has been negatively impacted.

“Canada was already facing a mental health crisis prior to COVID-19,” said Jacques Goulet president of Sun Life Canada and Lumino Health. “The pandemic has amplified the crisis, and poses potential mental health impacts for years to come.”

The RBC survey found that women and Canadians aged 18-34 are more likely to have seen a negative impact on their mental health — 58% of women ranked their mental health as excellent or good, compared to two-thirds (67%) of men. About half (51%) of younger Canadians ranked their mental health as excellent or good — while 72% of those aged 55 and over and 60% aged 35-54 said the same.

The Robert Half survey also found that more women (36%) reported a rise in burnout than men (31%). And parenting children didn’t make much of a difference to the equation:  34% of respondents with children and 33% of those without said they’re experiencing greater rundown than a year ago.

Young professionals aged 25-40 are more frequently reporting burnout (37%), although 36% of workers aged 41-54 are saying the same. Just over a quarter (28%) of those 55 years and older said they’re seeing a higher degree of burnout, the study said.

“With workers indicating they are experiencing rising levels of fatigue, managers need to work with their teams to address job burnout head-on,” Robert Half’s King said in a statement. “This means helping them not only to prioritize their workloads, but also their well-being.”

Robert Half gave three tips for helping managers prevent burnout among staff:

  1. Prioritize ruthlessly: Check in regularly with team members to discuss current projects and obstacles. Help them focus on critical business tasks, and bring in temporary professionals to assist, if possible.
  2. Encourage time off: Busy employees may be reluctant to take a break. Support — and model — work-life balance by reminding employees to use their vacation days and managing your own time effectively.
  3. Share helpful resources: Promote company-provided wellness offerings, and pass along information about free classes and programs that support a healthier lifestyle.


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1 Comment » for Are you burned out and mentally strained? The club is growing
  1. jen says:

    It’s year end in an economic downturn. All insurer management is going to do for it’s employees is pile more on & compromise underwriting standards to meet targets and satisfy the larger brokerages that don’t do anything in return. Per typical, when the claims start occurring from said junk risk, it’s always front lines fault.

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