Are women more burned out than men? Battling the gender burnout gap

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  • Date posted

    Mar 10, 2022

We all come from rich backgrounds filled with different struggles and strengths. No single narrative can capture the full range of each employee’s experience. But, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the way we work, it's impossible to ignore this data-driven truth: Women (and especially women of color) are significantly more burned out compared to previous years—and compared to their male teammates.

The burnout gap between women and men has nearly doubled from previous years.1 And according to recent studies, in the past year . . .

1 in 3

Women have considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers.

42%

Of women have been often or almost always burned out compared to 35% of men.

1 in 4

Asian women have been personally impacted by racial trauma.

And while maintaining a fulfilling work experience is essential to the wellbeing of all employees, studies show that men tend to have a better experience at work compared to women.1 But that doesn't make this strictly a women’s issue.

Regardless of gender, people at Best Workplaces for Women are 40% more ready to innovate than at other organizations. When women have a great experience at work, their male colleagues are more likely to have a great experience, too.

So how do well-intentioned companies build a culture that creates a great experience for all employees, regardless of gender? We’re so glad you asked.

In this article, we break down our top suggestions for creating a culture of care, support, and equity for the working women in your organization.

Gather data you can act on

The first step to banishing burnout? Ask your employees how they’re feeling—and don’t forget to record the data. Industry statistics and benchmarks are great, but to build a truly impactful plan, you need numbers that are unique to your people.

By regularly measuring your team's wellbeing with brief, easy-to-implement surveys (like our Navigate Pulse Surveys) you can discover hidden trends and challenges. Once you identify these potential opportunities for growth, you can take the appropriate steps to address them.

With data that is unique to your population, you can equip yourself with the right tools and strategies to overcome any barrier harming employee wellbeing, including the gender burnout gap.

Give your team a diverse set of tools to manage burnout

Company-wide initiatives are an essential part of your wellbeing strategy, but employees can also benefit from tools they can use individually. We’re talking about flexible, mobile solutions that encourage growth and offer support wherever they are on their wellbeing journey.

Each person manages stress and difficult situations differently. While one person might want to add more mindfulness to their days with meditation, another could see better results from accessing their EAP benefits or even spending more time on their physical health. It’s important to meet employees exactly where they are and provide them with the support and the benefits they need to thrive.

Arm your managers with training and knowledge

Managers and senior leaders play a crucial role in the wellbeing of each employee—especially when it comes to burnout. According to Gallup, “managers are largely responsible for the conditions most likely to cause or prevent burnout.” But that doesn’t mean it’s their burden to solve alone. All managers need proper education and guidance on how to handle the gender burnout gap, and it’s especially important to activate your male managers.

57%

Of men say working from home during the pandemic has positively affected their career compared to only 29% of women.

This stat is even more significant when considering that most managerial positions are held by men.2 Male managers must be aware of these types of discrepancies, so they can keep them in mind when addressing burnout in their teams.

So, what is the first step to beating burnout? Start by encouraging your managers to seek regular, honest feedback from their team members. While simple, this tactic is incredibly effective in reducing burnout. In fact, employees with managers willing to listen to work-related problems are 62% less likely to be burned out.4 By building a culture based on transparency, empathy, and honesty, you can take a significant step towards reducing burnout for all employees.

Embrace and encourage a culture of wellbeing

To successfully overcome the gender burnout gap, employee wellbeing should be a core pillar of your retention strategy. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have remote employees, since fully remote workers are now experiencing more burnout than on-site workers.6

By encouraging managers to uphold a culture of wellbeing in their everyday activities, you can help each employee feel that culture of care and see the benefits.

89%

Of employees are more likely to recommend their company if the organization supports wellbeing initiatives.

It’s important to keep your employees engaged, connected, and committed to their own wellbeing. One way we’ve helped the Navigate team take on the challenges of the pandemic is by offering flexible schedules and weekly mental health hours. These popular benefits are essential for helping all employees, but especially those navigating the challenges of single parenting, mental health struggles, or just life in general.

If you’re looking for even more guidance on burnout management, consider how you can help support your employees’ mental health year-round with these three strategies.

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