One Third of Workers Suffer From Increased Burnout Due to WFH and Lack of Work-Life Balance


Coronavirus isn’t the only thing on the rise. Apparently, burnout is too.

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report, almost one third of workers around the world is suffering from increased burnout during the last six months as worries over COVID-19 and the new work-from-home setup put more pressure on workers.

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“In the last 6 months, we have seen how COVID-19 has contributed to the evolution of the workplace—from a physical space to one residing in a virtual world. As businesses adapt to a new way of working, it is important to examine the multifaceted impact these changes are having on employees and provide relevant and timely solutions," said Rosalind Quek, general manager, Modern Workplace, Microsoft Asia.

While work-from-home has its multitude of perks, workers have noticed how WFH is blurring the lines between work and home, causing a poor work-life balance, which then leads to almost a third to experience burnout. Using Microsoft Teams, the report managed to track the work habits and schedules of respondents.

“Our data shows even six months past the first work-from-home orders, people are in significantly more meetings, taking more ad hoc calls, and managing more incoming chats than they did before the pandemic,” said the report.

“After-hours chats, or chats between 5pm and midnight, have also increased. Perhaps more interestingly, the share of Teams users sending those chats after hours has more than doubled. Put another way, there is a whole group of people who never touched a keyboard after 5pm before the pandemic—now, they do.”

Oddly enough, some workers feel as if the lack of commute from WFH is actually making matters worse. The researchers found that commuting actually helped maintain work-life balance for workers, as it provided an unofficial transition from work life to personal life. But without this routine of “ramping up for work and then winding down, we’re emotionally exhausted at the end of the day.”


Meanwhile, almost 34 percent of the 6,000 respondents cited fears about getting COVID-19. Majority of those concerned with contracting coronavirus were the frontline workers, nearly 30 percent of which lack the tech and protective equipment that will keep them safe.

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In an effort to do their part to promote the wellbeing of workers, many of which utilize Microsoft tools like Teams and Outlook, Microsoft incorporated a “virtual commute experience” into Teams that lets workers meditate with Headspace, share their emotions, and close tasks on Teams to mark the end of work and the start of their downtime.

It’s a small effort, but it serves as a reminder for the many people working from home that work is not life.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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