Returning to Office May Relieve Burnout

A woman face down sleeping at her desk

© Westend61 - Getty Images

Remote work amid the pandemic hasn’t been easy, particularly for employees balancing work and life in one space. As more companies prepare for a return to the office, office buildings likely will get more full this fall after about a year-and-a-half of being mostly empty.

A new study suggests that a return to in-person work may help more employees’ mental health. In-person workers tend to suffer less from burnout than remote workers, according to a new survey from TINYpulse.

About 86% of remote workers surveyed say they experience some or a great deal of burnout, according to the survey.

“The less an employee is in the office, the more emotional exhaustion they’ll experience, from 69% for in-person to 81% for hybrid to 86% for remote,” according to the TINYPulse study, State of Employee Engagement Q2 2021.

Three out of four human resource leaders report that their employees are experiencing widespread burnout. What’s more, HR leaders say that the leading factors fueling workplace attrition are employees who face difficulties with adjusting to remote work and lower motivation.

To try to reduce employee burnout, HR leaders say they believe a more hybrid work option may be needed due to the high level of emotional exhaustion that remote employees are facing.

About 63% of HR leaders surveyed say they believe hybrid work optimizes employee performance. Only 5% of HR leaders reported that remote work optimized performance. A hybrid work model most commonly consisted of three days per week in the office and two days of working remotely.

Some industries may be more open to work flexibilities than others. For example, medicine and health industries, not surprisingly, were the most likely to report in-person work, whereas computer and technology occupations were more likely to say a remote work setup would suffice.

A bar chart showing work locations by industry, split among in-person arrangements, hybrid, and remote.