Study: Reasons for Work Burnout, Solutions

(WFD Consulting: Boston, Massachusetts) -- WFD Consulting, an expert in work-life, talent management, workload, and overwork, recently released research findings that demonstrate how longer work hours and time spent on low-value work increase burnout and negatively affect employees and productivity.

Workers who participated in WFD's study, report working an average of 52 hours per week and spending more than nine hours each week, almost 20 percent of their work time, on low-value, inefficient work. As a result, two-thirds of employees report feeling physically or emotionally drained at the end of the workday and 30 percent report high levels of stress. Those who work 60 hours a week are more than twice as stressed as those who work 40 hours a week. Those with high stress are 15 percent less engaged in and committed to their organizations, and their intention to leave their companies is almost twice as high.

The top sources of overwork and inefficiencies identified by participants in WFD's research are:

  • Lack of adequate staffing to meet work demands—doing more with less

  • Information overload—too much e-mail and internal communication, making it difficult to filter and prioritize key information

  • Client and customer demands—last-minute urgent requests and commitments

  • Poor communication, coordination, and cooperation among different functions

  • Lack of clarity or conflicting priorities about what is really important


WFD has found that companies using a team-based approach to address drivers of overwork and inefficiency achieve significant results, as well as reduce work/life conflict.

"When work teams come together and engage team members in identifying the key issues driving excessive workload, they develop creative and effective solutions that often enhance individual employee productivity and engagement," says Diane Burrus, WFD senior consultant and expert in workload solutions.

Participants in the WFD study saw positive results after implementing team-based solutions:

  • 61 percent reported improved work-process efficiency

  • 58 percent reported improved level of customer/client service

  • 58 percent also report an improvement in their ability to manage their workload

  • 57 percent reported improved work-product quality

  • 65 percent reported improvement in team morale.


For further information on the study by WFD Consulting and examples of workload solutions implemented at the clients' organizational and workgroup levels, visit

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