A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine highlighted what many already guess, that job burnout can lead to a range of health problems, including obesity, insomnia, and anxiety. However, researchers at the business and medical schools at Tel Aviv University led by Sharon Toker concluded that the results were much more extreme than expected. In fact, the most disenchanted employees developed heart problems at a 79% higher rate than their less-stressed peers.

The Tel Aviv University study posed these five questions, asking participants to answer with ‘never,’ ‘sometimes,’ ‘often,’ or ‘always’:

  • How often are you tired and lacking energy to go to work in the morning?
  • How often do you feel physically drained, as if your batteries were dead?
  • How often is your thinking process sluggish or your concentration impaired?
  • How often do you struggle to think over complex problems at work?
  • How often do you feel emotionally detached from co-workers or customers, and unable to respond to their needs?

Two or more responses of ‘often’ or ‘always’ are a red flag.

Our view:

Looking only at the work place as the contributing factor to burnout is surely too simplistic. The term ‘Work / Life balance’ may be over used – but both are equally important to managing stress.

Earlier this month there was an interesting article in The Guardian based on interviews with the leaders of some major companies. I think the most telling quote came from Vittorio Colao, CEO at Vodafone:

My secret to happy work is finding happiness in a number of aspects in my life. That way, if I’m having a bad day at work, or a bad day at home, I still have pockets of happiness I can adjust my focus to.

Overall, the conclusion of the article was that business and domestic life for all these top achievers are hopelessly blurred, but without exception, all those interviewed dedicated time to family and leisure.

All companies have to focus on their people; products and process. The successful companies will recognise that the right people are their most important asset and will help them maintain perspective on the importance of both work and home to their wellbeing, or in other words – helping them in attaining the correct Work / Life balance.