Burnout Linked to Emotional Stress Rather Than Hard Work

      March 03, 2023 08:46

      Burnout can affect every office worker in the country at some stage, and, contrary to common belief, does not stem from overwork as such but psychological stress. 
      The Chosun Ilbo's Weekly Biz and mental health start-up 40FY polled 1,000 office workers to analyze which types of people are prone to burnout and what can be done to prevent it.
      The 1,000 workers were asked 130 questions, which revealed that 49 percent were experiencing depression and 12.4 percent severe depression. Some 40 percent also felt anxious, and 55.1 percent were diagnosed with complete burnout. 
      They included employees of big conglomerates, small businesses and start-ups with an average age of was 36.1. The male-to-female ratio was 34 to 66. 
      Those with depression and anxiety have been found to be 83 percent and 69 percent more likely than other workers to suffer complete burnout. 
      Some 23.7 percent suffer from insomnia, and they were 26 percent more likely to get burnt out than those without sleeping problems. Seven out of 10 insomniacs said they considered changing jobs in the last six months. 
      Salary, rank and gender all play their part in making burnout more likely. The lower the income and rank, the higher the chances of burnout, while women are more susceptible to burnout than men.
      Some 70.8 percent of respondents who earn less than W30 million a year were seriously at risk, compared to 13.8 percent who earn more than W80 million (US$1=W1,316). At manager level, only 11.8 percent were at serious risk of burnout, compared to 46 percent of mid-level employees and 58.9 percent of low-ranking workers.
      While 61.8 percent of female office workers were classified as being at risk, only 28.1 percent of men were.
      By age group, workers in their 30s were the most at risk, while the risk was low among over-50s. The size of a company seems to have no effect.
      From a statistical standpoint, women in their 30s who earn low incomes are at particularly high risk of burnout. Career counselor Kim Na-eui said, "Women in their 30s suffer from work pressure and also have to worry about marriage and kids, so they often complain about burnout. High income earners are able to compensate for job pressure with significant economic rewards." 
      One common misconception of burnout is that it is only triggered by overwork. But qualitative rather than quantitative work overload was found to have a closer relationship with burnout in the office. Qualitative work overload has to do with vague instructions, unclear responsibilities and roles and unsatisfactory tasks.
      Office workers at lower risk of burnout experienced 24.3 percent less qualitative work overload than high-risk groups. If the qualitative work overloads increases 12 percent, the chance of burnout surges 50 percent, and an 18 percent increase in qualitative work overload boosts the desire to switch jobs by 53 percent. 
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