Survey: 58% of Working Americans Say Their Jobs Are ‘Main Source’ of Mental Health Challenges

Nearly 90% of Americans believe being in control of their work schedules, along with performance measures, could improve burnout.

As we move into almost two years of the coronavirus pandemic, work looks very different for many Americans. A study by Qualtrics, an experience management firm, reported that 7 out of 10 working Americans feel that they are burned out and are having a hard time with a work and home life balance. The study also revealed that 58% believe their job is their main source of mental health struggles. The study was done to reveal long term impacts of the pandemic for full time employees and also the changes that have come with how and where work is performed.

The study, which was 1,021 full time employees and 161 government employees, showed that working remotely has had a negative effect on some employees: “20% say they begin their workdays earlier than before, 18% take fewer sick days and 17% believe they are working more than they did before” (Konkel 22).

 While the study showed the negative impacts of working remotely during the pandemic, it also provided insight on how to prevent or help employees experiencing burnout. 55% of employees expressed flexibility over their work hours and schedule would make them more likely to stay with an employer. They also said performance-based goals over the number of hours worked was a better option. Only 11% of employees stated that performance was rated by results and not hours worked.

Employees in the private and public sector stated the top three things that would improve their mental health would be higher pay, a four-day work week, and flexibility to work whenever, wherever. Flexibility was so important in the study that 51% of tech workers and 24% of government workers said that they would be willing to sacrifice 5% of their pay in order to have control over their hours and where they worked.

“Flexibility has become a buzzword as employees have embraced new styles of working during the pandemic. But it’s important to look deeper at what flexibility really means,” said Benjamin Granger, head of employee experience advisory services at Qualtrics, in a statement. “As work and home life have become increasingly connected—and employees continue juggling childcare responsibilities and caretaking needs for themselves and sick family members—they’re asking for flexible schedules that fit better with the demands of their lives.”

By: Beth Gray