Staff burnout risk heightened by staff shortages and cost of living crisis

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Employee burnout has become a major problem for the manufacturing industry
Employee burnout has become a major problem for the manufacturing industry

Related tags Training & recruitment

Staff shortages and the cost of living crisis are putting manufacturing and engineering employees at constant risk of burnout, according to new research from Claro Wellbeing.

Nearly one in three (29%) of UK employees in the engineering and manufacturing are at risk of burnout after working beyond their contracted hours and doing some form of unpaid overtime each week.

Claro Wellbeing’s Wellbeing Washing – The True Cost report found that more than one in five (21%) employees said they worked between one and five hours extra, in overtime, each week.

It also found that 16% of employees in the sector have experienced burnout – a state of physical and emotional exhaustion caused by work stress – in six months and employees regularly working overtime are at increased risk of poor wellbeing.

The pressure of the cost of living crisis has exacerbated employees need to prove themselves as it puts pressure on their finances. Many are working longer hours, with one in six (15%) reporting the feel guilty if they don’t work overtime.

Suspected staff shortages

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (23%) said they worked above and beyond their contracted hours due to increased workloads, suggesting staff shortages are impacting the sector.

Stacey Lowman, head of employee wellbeing at Claro Wellbeing, said: “The number of employees in the engineering and manufacturing sector working unpaid overtime each week is concerning due to the impact it can have on their personal wellbeing. While companies are facing tough trading conditions, the cost of neglecting staff wellbeing could be significant.

“Continued overworking is likely to lead to poor wellbeing, burnout, an increased chance of mental health issues and staff taking sickness absence.

“Employers are also likely to see a higher staff turnover rate as employees leave for a better working environment. This is an issue already facing the sector with many companies experiencing difficulties in recruitment.”

Avoiding burnout

In order to avoid such an outcome, Lowman suggested a comprehensive benefits offering could aid wellbeing and help employees deal with workplace stresses. The most introduced employee benefits in the past year focused on mental health support.

Sabbaticals and paid time off were also increasingly popular benefits, as work-life balance continued to climb up the list of priorities for employees.

“Despite this, it’s clear that there’s much more to be done to prevent burnout,”​ Lowman added. “Work-related burnout can also be exacerbated by other stresses, such as strain on finances caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

 “Our Workplace Today report found that, on average, each employee spends three-and-a-half days a year at work trying to sort out their bills and completing other personal finance tasks which reduces productivity and adds to the workload burden. To support employees, employers could consider introducing a financial wellbeing programme which enables staff to access support at a time that suits them.”

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