Companies are facing an employee burnout crisis: A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.
"The cost of absenteeism and turnover is enormous in most organizations," said Jim Harter, Ph.D., chief scientist of workplace management and well-being for Gallup. Aside from absenteeism, dissatisfaction and job-hopping, he says that the higher stress resulting from burnout is associated with poor physiological health.
The meltdown accounts for an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in health-care spending each year, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review. A 2017 study in the journal PLoS One cited major health risks related to job burnout, like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol and even death for those under the age of 45.
First coined in the 1970s by American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, "burnout" referred to stress and exhaustion felt by those in "helping" professions — like doctors and nurses — making it tough for them to cope. And while that may still be true decades later — according to a Medscape Physician Lifestyle Survey, the rate of physician burnout climbed precipitously to 46 percent in 2015 — burnout can affect anyone, no matter what their job.
Gallup's study found that about two-thirds of all full-time workers experienced burnout on the job. Some of the causes? Unfair treatment at work, unreasonable deadlines, unmanageable workload and lack of support from managers. Add to that the stress that comes with 24/7 access to work, through emails and texts, and expectations to respond at off-hours.
Despite awareness and well-intentioned workplaces, employee burnout continues to rise. But it's not inevitable. CNBC talks to experts on how employees can avoid — and even reverse — it.