New research reveals the five signs your employees are overworked

Modern working can come with a certain amount of pressure. However, following the pandemic, increased working from home and the blurred boundaries between home life and work life, some employees are becoming increasingly overworked.

This can cause employees to work beyond their capacity and can lead to burnout. Working longer hours and taking on too much responsibility are both examples of overworking.

Analysis of Google search data revealed five toxic overworking traits that are on the rise in 2022, with employees turning to Google for advice on coping with harmful working environments. 

The five toxic traits:

  1. 50% increase in Google searches for ‘signs of burnout at work’ since January 2022

Overworking can lead to burnout, as increased pressure over a long period of time can lead to employees feeling overwhelmed.

For some employees experiencing burnout, the boundaries between work and home have become blurred, which makes it harder to switch off from work and find a work-life balance. For others increased responsibility or high workloads may be causing burnout.

Fatigue, procrastination and lack of concentration of interest in work are all signs of burnout. If you notice any of these changes in a member of your team’s behaviour, the chances are they’re experiencing burnout.

As a manager it’s important to check in with your team regularly. Being open and available for a chat can help your team to feel supported. Work with them to pinpoint the cause of their burnout and advocate for changes in the workplace.

  1. 50% increase in Google searches for ‘chronic work stress’ over the last 3 months

Stress is the body’s natural response to situations where you may feel under pressure – for example, in the run up to a tight work deadline. Experiencing small amounts of stress is normal and can sometimes even be helpful. However, experiencing levels of stress over a long period of time (chronic stress) can be harmful for your mental and physical health.

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health as you’re more likely to experience health conditions such as anxiety, depression and problems with sleeping. 

There are lots of reasons we experience stress in the workplace, from high workloads, tight deadlines to taking on new responsibilities. However, it is important to find healthy techniques to manage stress. From identifying any stressors in the workplace to discussing your concerns with your manager, there are small steps you can take to protect your wellbeing and manage levels of stress.

As a manager you can help your team to access the wellbeing resources, such as mindfulness techniques and stress management training. Or by ensuring that they’ve got access to employee wellbeing services, like Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), GP appointments or health assessments.

  1. 40% increase in Google searches for ‘poor work life balance’ since the start of 2022

A healthy work life balance is a key factor to workplace wellbeing. However, overworking can upset the balance between home and work life. Especially if an employee experiences longer working hours, it can be harder to switch off from work.

A positive work life balance helps to reduce work-related illness, such as stress and anxiety. So, encourage your team to spend the evenings doing activities or hobbies that bring them joy or spending time with friends and family. As well as spreading annual leave evenly across the year.

  1. 33% increase in Google searches for ‘choice fatigue’ since January 2022

We make thousands of decisions every day – from simple ones such as choosing what to eat for lunch to complex ones like project planning at work. Our decision making is a cognitive process which can leave us feeling exhausted – especially when it comes to making those bigger business decisions. As a result, we can experience choice fatigue – where the ability to make high-quality decisions decreases after a series of choices have already been made.

Feeling exhausted, making more mistakes, and experiencing brain-fog are all symptoms of choice fatigue and can lead to lower levels of productivity.

Encourage your employees to take regular breaks from their workspaces during the day to help reduce the effects of fatigue. Even a five-minute break during the day to practice mindfulness or some simple stretches can boost mood and help with tackling the rest of the day’s tasks.

  1. 23% increase in Google searches for ‘toxic work environment’ over the last 3 months

Different factors can cause a toxic work environment, from a negative atmosphere, company culture or tension between colleagues. All of which can lead to a poor working environment and impacting employee wellbeing.

Lack of motivation, productivity and increased absence are all signs of a toxic work environment. Encouraging effective open communication and team collaboration can help create a positive workplace. Team building exercises, such as coffee mornings, regular catch ups and workshops boost motivation and help your team to get to know each other better.