In recent years the world has been in a constant state of crisis, termed permacrisis by some. This prolonged exposure to crises, economic uncertainties, and climate anxieties is creating a sustained strain on individuals and workforces. Concerns regarding this ‘crisis fatigue’ and related burnout among the global workforce are prompting organizations to re-evaluate their mental health support strategies and to prioritise proactive mental health support for employees.
The International SOS Risk Outlook 2024 data identifies burnout, the cost-of-living crisis and mental health concerns as the top risks to organizational wellbeing this year, making these pressing issues for organizational resilience.
The survey data also underlines a growing understanding of the direct link between employee wellbeing and organizational success. With 82% acknowledging the vital role of health and wellness policies in recruitment and retention and 77% seeing safeguarding employee wellbeing as a board-level priority.
The survey also shows that burnout rates among the global workforce have nearly doubled in just two years, soaring from 11-18% to 20-40%, with many reporting burnout levels as high as 50%. However, the perceived risk that the impact of burnout will have in 2024 varies across regions. Globally, 80% of surveyed global senior risk professionals identifies employee burnout as the top threat to their organization and workforce. Notably, this concern is most pronounced across the Middle East (93%), Oceania (88%), Africa (84%) and Americas (84%), which are exceeding the global average.
International SOS urges organisations to take action and implement proactive strategies to prevent burnout and combat crisis fatigue in the workplace. These include:
Create an emotionally open culture and encourage open communication: provide a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health and wellbeing. Encourage them to speak up if they are feeling overwhelmed or struggling.
Provide flexibility and promote work-life balance: support flexible working arrangements that help employees to balance their work and personal lives. Promote regular breaks and empower employees to prioritise their wellbeing.
Invest in emotional wellbeing: provide access to mindfulness sessions, and stress management training. Partner with certified mental health professionals to offer confidential counselling and support services.
Offer employee assistance programmes (EAPs): consider providing support such as financial counselling services or benefits consultations to address anxieties surrounding economic uncertainties.
Equip managers with mental health first-aid training: upskill managers to identify signs of distress and offer initial support to employees who may be struggling.