I was scared. In 2016 when burnout struck, I was afraid to find out what happens next.
Now I am scared for others.
The more people I coach, the more it seems that burnout, overwhelm and overwork are becoming the backbone of business.
Every day I hear about the urgent projects, changing priorities, the multiple roles, the need to multitask, fire drills, the next most important thing, missed vacations, 7 day working, lack of boundaries, instant access…
At a project management symposium in Washington DC in September 2022, 87% of attendees said they had experienced burnout. At another international project management conference in October 2022, 94% said they have experienced burnout.
We are asking humans to be inhuman. And that is inhumane.
Question – Are we designed to multitask?
Answer – Research says we are not. We are not multitasking, we are task switching which leaks time, focus and energy.
Question – Are we designed to make decisions under constant pressure?
Answer – Research shows that we are not. We go into fight, flight or freeze mode and start using shortcuts and biases to make our decisions – which is not good for us or others.
Question – Are we designed to sit at a desk, or stand behind a counter hour after hour?
Answer – Studies show we are not. Our bodies need movement, quality sleep and changing focus. Our brains need recharge time, imagination and mind-wandering time, peaks and troughs in our efforts.
We have all the evidence to show that humans are NOT designed to meet the pressures that we are imposing – long days at work, pressure to deliver outputs faster and faster with fewer mistakes, reduced recharge time. Our increasing sense of urgency for all things – the expectation that if someone wants it today they should have it tomorrow, is actually going to kill us. I see it everyday.
Employers – slow down. Accept you cannot meet every need of every potential customer in record time. Without a healthy workforce you will not have a healthy business. Manage customer expectations instead of pushing employees to the limit.
Customers – we are not entitled to the things we want at the expense of the health and wellbeing of others. So wait a minute, hour, day, week, a year if necessary to get that thing you want. You might even find that you don’t actually need it at all!
Employees – support those who speak out and up on your behalf. It is understandable that you may hesitate to speak yourself, but don’t shut down others who raise the red flag.
What do you see?
What are your thoughts?
Please share in the comments!