Burnout on rise as Scots workers struggle with work-life balance

More than half of Scottish workers admit that their job regularly eats into their personal life, while burnout is on the rise again, according to a new study out today.

The findings have been revealed by job and company insight specialist Glassdoor, after it analysed a wealth of reviews by full-time, UK-based employees between January 1 and September 28.

It found that while 44 per cent of Scottish workers took action to improve the blend of job and home during the Covid crisis, 54 per cent admit that work often leaches into their personal life, while 42 per cent say a healthy balance simply isn’t possible in their current role, exceeding the UK average.

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Flexibility for frontline workers crucial to tackling Scotland's record vacancy ...
Glassdoor found that mentions of burnout in reviews have increased by 128 per cent since April 2021 across the UK. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images.

Glassdoor also suggested that employers might want to update their HR policies, as 63 per cent of people in full-time employment in Scotland say that what they want from the balance between work and home has changed since the pandemic began.

Additionally, 58 per cent intend to make changes to improve their current work-life balance and are looking for employers to offer a more nuanced solution to help them protect their personal life.

Glassdoor also said the research shows that for employees there is no single definition of the term “work-life balance”, and they want to take control of what it means for them personally.

For 40 per cent, flexible working hours mean a good balance, while 31 per cent want choice in where they work, and 24 per cent want a reduced working week. In contrast, generous paid time off is important to another 24 per cent, and 28 per cent want to be able to switch between work and personal life throughout the day as needed. Additionally, the survey revealed little consistency across gender, age or other demographic.

Glassdoor also said a new blended model of work is looking likely as more than two thirds of workers in Scotland said the ability to allocate whatever time they chose to work and personal activities was, for them, the modern definition of “work-life balance”.

Initiatives

With eight in ten employees stating that work-life balance would be a key consideration when looking for their next role, employers are advised to consider various initiatives that make a healthy balance between life and work achievable. Staff “see this change as a partnership”, said Glassdoor, with 62 per cent saying they believe the responsibility for ensuring a good equilibrium is shared between employee and employer, also above the UK average.

Glassdoor also revealed the highest-ranking UK companies for work-life balance – with the tech coming in at the top end of the scale, and hospitality at the bottom. Coming in for praise was the likes of Sky Betting & Gaming’s long-running wellbeing programme, with a range of support including additional days off, but the organisation ranking highest overall was the Office for National Statistics.

Lauren Thomas, economist at Glassdoor, also highlighted the increased focus overall on mental health – with mentions of burnout having increased by 128 per cent across the UK since April 2021, “suggesting that employers are not fully meeting the needs of their workforce”.

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