The New Abnormal: Nearly Half of American Employees Feel Burnt Out After a Year Working During a Pandemic

ClickUp announced the findings of its new report, “The 2021 Workplace Pulse, which reveals the sentiments of today’s workers after one year of working during this immense pandemic-driven shift in workplace culture. The survey, which was conducted online on its behalf by The Harris Poll among employed U.S. Americans, sheds light on how employees feel about the changing workplace over the past year, including the sudden shift to remote work, new challenges around managing work/life balance, and gaps in workplace communication and coordination. In fact, nearly half (45%) of US employees said they would give up 10% of their salary in order to have an easier work life.

“The past year has brought about an unparalleled shift in the way businesses work, forcing many to adjust on the fly to new tools and processes that have left their employees feeling burnt out,” said Zeb Evans, Founder and CEO of ClickUp. “This report shows just how fed up employees are with businesses that leave them in the technological dark ages or bombard them with too many tools. In an era where employees can try new tools at the click of a button and work from any location, businesses need to listen to their employees and meet their evolving expectations. Those that don’t will lose their employees to jobs that give them what they want and need, even if they have to give up some salary to get it.”

The shift to remote work due to the pandemic is one of the biggest permanent changes the workforce will likely see this century and companies must adapt to the increased flexibility that employees have become accustomed to, without a loss of business objectives.

The survey found that more than one-half of employed Americans (54%) will not work for a company that doesn’t offer the flexibility of working remotely at least some of the time.

  • Trying to Hire in the Tri-State? This sentiment is highest among those ages 35-44 (65%) and 18-34 (63%), and those in the Northeast (63%)
  • The Price of Burnout: Nearly half (45%) would give up 10% of their salary in order to have an easier work life
    • This percentage increases to 60% of males aged 18-34 and 56% of parents with kids under 18
  • Work/Life Imbalance: 48% of employees struggle balancing work and home life.
    • Higher among those 18-34 (60%) and 35-44 (56%)
    • 59% of parents with kids under 18 feel this way vs. those without (40%)
  • Fullest House: Reducing stress at work is so important to employees, that 46% say they would even choose to add stress at home in exchange for less stress at work
    • 47% men and 45% women
    • Highest among those 18-34 (57%)
    • Higher among parents with kids under 18 (54%) than those without (40%)


The Great Disconnect

The survey found that many employees are struggling with workplace productivity and engagement. More than half of employed Americans (51%) say they lose at least one hour per day being inefficient at work, and the causes are often as simple as email overload or disconnect from their team on tasks and projects. The message is clear – it is essential for businesses to optimize the workplace to meet these growing challenges.

Identifying a streamlined approach to an organization’s workflow and communications goes a long way towards alleviating the burden on employees and helps them to maximize efficiency, increase collaboration, and save time.

  • Zoom gloom: More than half (52%) of employed Americans have felt disconnected from their company/coworkers at some point in the past year
    • Millennials need love too: Highest among those 18-34 (61%)
    • Highest among parents with children in the household (57%) and parents with children under 18 years old (58%)
  • Efficiency deficiency: Approximately half (51%) feel as though they lose at least one hour per day being inefficient at work.
    • 59% of parents with children under 18 feel this way compared to those without (45%)
    • Decreases to 45% without children
  • Email Overload: Half (50%) of employed Americans feel having to check emails throughout the day is distracting to their productivity while working.


Balancing Work: The Right (Amount of) Tools

Businesses must implement a structured, seamless framework that allows a dispersed workforce to collaborate with ease. Whether an organization is fully remote or has a combination of in-office and remote workers, it is important to find a balance between having the technology and tools to enable employees to work in concert and communicate across locations, without it resulting in ‘application-overload’ and negatively impacting efficiency.

With most companies falling into one of two traps, this balance can be hard to achieve.

  • Trap #1: Too many tools…
    • Nearly half (46%) of employed Americans fear they will become burnt out from having to juggle so many different technology tools or apps for work
      • Highest among those 18-34 (56%)
      • 47% men and 45% women
      • 52% of parents with kids under 18 compared to 41% without
    • 43% have been frustrated by the number of technology tools or apps they have to use for work.
      • Highest among males 18-34 (60%)
      • Most among those in the North East (49%) and least in the South (37%)
  • Trap #2: Or not enough…
    • 42% of employed Americans feel their employer does not offer them all the technology tools or apps they need to succeed while working remotely
      • Higher among parents with kids under 18 (48%) vs. not (37%)
    • 42% also feel their company is stuck in the dark ages when it comes to adopting new technology tools or apps.
      • Highest in the West (48%); lowest in the Midwest (39%)


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About Author

Leigh Porter's first love is to love people. Beginning her career as a neonatal RN was an obvious choice until life threw the curve ball to embark on a new IT endeavor. Pursuing this fresh career was a piece of cake with her resilient and steadfast character. Outside of the office, Leigh also diligently gives much of her time faithfully as a nationally awarded volunteer leader to a very dear to her heart organization.