White Collar American Workers are burning out More Than Ever! Here are the Reasons Why!
What do Surveys and Research into the American Workforce Reveal about White Collar Americans
Latest surveys by reputed HR (Human Resource) consultancies reveal that nearly half of all Americans in white collar jobs are facing stress and burnout more than ever.
Indeed, the Future Forum, a research firm specializing in workforce trends has come out with the findings of a survey where 41% of all Americans in white collar professions have reported extreme stress and burnout at the end of 2022, more than ever even during the pandemic years.
Further, the results of this research paint a dire state of the mental health of the American workforce, as it adapts and adjusts to the New Normal of the post pandemic world.
While the burnout and stress are higher than ever, there is some reason for cheer as the American workforce is marginally better off than their global (more so the Europeans) counterparts in terms of experiencing burnout.
The reasons cited for these responses include high levels of stress due to economic uncertainties, fear of getting laid off, and the most important aspect of all, which is the time taken to adjust to the return to office requirements of employers.
Exponential and Accelerating Technological Change is Making Americans Disoriented and Disjointed
As if these were not enough, the Future Forum also found that having to adapt to fast changing technological trends and tools, as well as complex apps, is draining the American white collar workers.
While technology has been around for decades, and white collar Americans have found ways and means to adapt and learn the new tech tools and apps, what is different this time is the sheer mind boggling numbers of tools, software, and apps that the average American uses as part of his or her everyday work.
Indeed, research by a separate consultancy revealed that large firms and corporates have apps running into the hundreds that are expected to be used by their employees.
Moreover, the Exponential Acceleration that is the hallmark of the Smartphone era brings its own set of challenges as white collar Americans have to contend with rapid change and dizzying pace of innovation that is simply overwhelming them and driving them to stress and burnout.
Added to this are the trends such as The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and Rage Quitting, which are both the outcome of stress and burnout as they are the contributors to them. The Americans are not having it easy.
White Collar Americans are Yet to adjust to the New Normal of the Post Pandemic Workplaces
Having said that, one must also understand that the pandemic and its impact on all of us is going to linger on for some more time.
For instance, news reports suggest that the average American worker has yet to fully adjust and adapt to The New Normal of the post pandemic workplace, in the sense of grappling with Return to Office as well as having increased Face Time with his or her peers and colleagues.
Indeed, the consensus among experts is that the pandemic and the subsequent impacts have left us all frazzled and disoriented that is causing more white collar workers to experience stress and burnout.
In addition, the increasing instances of layoffs in large corporates are taking their toll as well. Given that there is also a heightened sense of uncertainty over the future of the American economy, what with high inflation and the cost of living crisis compounding such worries, and one gets an idea of the kind of stress that the average Joe (an expression that describes the typical American) is going through.
Perhaps a significant stressor here is also the toxic and partisan nature of the political discourse that is making Americans edgy and nervous.
The Economic and Social Consequences of the Burnout of White Collar Americans on the Future
So, what can be done about this? More importantly, what are the economic, social, and behavioral consequences of these gloomy predictions? For one, business leaders have their task cut out in terms of reaching out to their employees and reassuring them about jobs, pay, and flexible working conditions.
Sadly this is not happening yet and instead, what we have are regular drumbeats and announcements of layoffs. Further, there is not a peep yet from the societal stakeholders about building support systems for the pandemic hit American workforce.
Of course, this is not to say that the business leaders are just looking out for the money and the costs that can be cut by making their workers go through the stressors discussed so far.
However, our contention here is that not much is being done to help the battered American workforce. More so the women who are not even eligible for maternity leave as the United States is the only nation among the developed countries to not have paid maternal leave.
In addition, child care costs are increasing as are incidents of targeted hate at immigrants and minorities. These are some of the social costs of the fragmentation of American professionals.
Last, these surveys also present findings which show that globally, the peers of the Americans are not doing better and indeed, in some indicators, faring worse than the latter.
What this means is that this white collar burnout has gone global and it is the degree to which the stress impacts and the support systems that alleviate it are the key differentiators. In a way, this proves that all of us are in the same boat.
To conclude, the chronic burnout can become an epidemic, and if unaddressed, it can result in a lost generation of workers amongst global workforces.
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