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01. Employee Burnout

Employees of mid-sized businesses are as much as three times more likely to be experiencing burnout than employees of small or very small businesses.

Published: Oct 22, 2020

Here’s the Biggest Factor in Remote Worker Burnout (Hint: Business Size Matters)

In the new remote workforce, productivity is precious. But when the pandemic thrust the world into a forced work-from-home experiment, it blew up the last remnants of the precious boundaries between work and play.

Suddenly, our kitchens became our conference rooms. We invited colleagues and clients, virtually, into our bedrooms. Our living rooms doubled as after-work fitness studios. Cats and kids strutted around in the background of our video conferences. Working parents went on “mute” during meetings to play double duty as home-school teachers.

All of the rapid multitasking between work and life in tandem with “communication technologies for the purpose of work-related communication after hours” are two primary causes of burnout among the workforce, according to recent research from California State University.

But burnout isn’t the same at every size business. TriNet’s October 2020 SMB Pulse Survey* in partnership with a third party research firm Bredin, found that employees of mid-sized businesses (MBs) of 100 to 500 employees are as much as three times more likely to be experiencing burnout than employees of small (20 to 99 employees) or very small businesses (2 to 19 employees). Business owners among all three of these demographics also report decreased productivity and sense of company culture.

Why are the employees of mid-sized businesses disproportionately experiencing burnout? Workforce data give us some clues.

As the size of a company grows, it can be more difficult to foster camaraderie and a cohesive culture among its employees, versus that of smaller and tighter-knit organizations. Research by O.C. Tanner suggests that poor workplace culture leads to a 157% increase in the incidence rate of moderate-to-severe employee burnout. Technology could also be a culprit. Mid-sized business might have larger budgets for technology and software procurement. In remote environments where unplugging can often seem impossible, more tech isn’t always a good thing, it’s simply another way to be reached.

Regardless of size, SMBs must remember that burnout has serious implications, leading to a 376% decrease in the odds of having highly engaged employees, 87% decrease in likelihood to stay, 22% decreased work output, and 41% decrease in the perception of the employee experience. * SMB Pulse, conducted with third-party research firm Bredin, surveyed 500 principals of U.S. companies between September 26 – October 13 with 1 to 500 employees, including: 250 Very Small Businesses (VSBs) with one to 19 employees (97.7% weighting); 150 Small Businesses (SBs) with 20 to 99 employees (2.0% weighting); 100 Mid-sized Businesses (MBs) with 100 to 500 employees (0.3% weighting). The data cited in the research represents the opinions of the survey respondents and not those of TriNet or its employees.

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