A new nationwide survey has revealed that 44% of office workers in the UK say they often feel burnt out at work.
The Digital Detox survey, from Just Eat for Business, reveals unhealthy work habits when it comes to screen time. The survey included responses from 200 UK workers.
When asked if they’ve ever felt burnout, 44% of UK workers agreed, stating this was on a ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ basis. Burnout was described as ‘a state of physical and mental exhaustion, occurring when one experiences chronic workplace stress’. Those in management positions accounted for the highest proportion (46%) of those who sometimes or often feel burnt out at work.
Taking lunch breaks ‘al desko’
The survey revealed over 36% of workers are skipping more regular breaks now than this time last year. There appears to be a correlation between those who skip breaks and those who feel burnt out, as 73% of those reporting burnout admitting they don’t take a break til lunch. 46% don’t stop looking at their screen until the end of the working day.
With employers increasingly adopting remote or hybrid working policies, employers must encourage regular screen breaks. ‘Urgency culture’ or ‘always on culture’ keeps employees stuck to screens outside of working hours. When we’re focusing on screens, we’re using resources including energy, motivation and concentration, even if we don’t realise it. These resources are like batteries; they need to be recharged regularly.
Yet, we often find ourselves taking breaks from our computer screens – to scroll on our phone screens! In the evening, we take a break from our phone – by watching a TV screen! These activities might feel pretty mindless, but they’re not restorative activities. We then find all the concerns of the day flood into our awareness when we should be sleeping. This stops our batteries, and resources from getting a proper charge.
“Take a break” strategies can be effective if supported by management and implemented throughout the organisation. These can be supported through company IT systems, for example messages which pop up periodically saying “remember to take a break”. Without taking regular breaks, it’s not surprising that so many workers are feeling more burnt out than before.
The emphasis on wellbeing means it’s more important than ever that employers and employees prioritise sustainable and healthy working habits. This must start with the basics, which include taking regular screen breaks.
To see the full results from the Digital Detox survey, click here.