Burnout causing people to consider career changes during pandemic: survey

WINNIPEG — A new survey has found that many Canadians are looking to make some big changes, particularly in terms of their careers, as the COVID-19 impact continues to have an impact on mental health.

“When you have this sense of discomfort, when you have this sense that things are not going well or that you’re not able to cope well, then you want to make a change and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Paula Allen, global leader, research and total wellbeing at Morneau Shepell.

Morneau Shepell released its monthly mental health index on Wednesday morning, which shows that for the past eight months, the mental well-being of Canadians has been consistently lower than it was during the pandemic.

“What we’re seeing right now is massive fatigue and drain,” Allen said.

“There’s the change that we’ve had, the uncertainty that we’ve had, and we’re not seeing any clear end of it.”

The index found that in November, people were feeling the weight of the pandemic even more than they were back in June and July, as the mental health score is lower now than what the company reported during the summer.

“So we are seeing something that we do need to pay attention to,” Allen said.

CAREER CHANGES

This strain on people’s mental health is making some Canadians want to change their career paths, according to the index.

Allen said they’ve seen some indications building up to this point, as people have been feeling less motivated and competent at work.

“These are signs of burnout where people are just feeling the weight of the emotional strain of the pandemic, even if it isn’t because they’re getting more work, but work is harder to get done,” she said.

Allen added that companies are currently running a high-risk of turnover, and unless things change, the risk could increase.

EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP

The index found that the pandemic is also changing the way employees view their employers, but how their view is changing depends on the employer.

Allen said Morneau Shepell has found that some employers have done well by focusing on people’s well-being and supporting their workers. She added in these situations, employees tend to have better mental health and an improved view of their employer.

“Then we have others who have done less well, and it’s not that they’ve done bad things, they just haven’t done anything to support the well-being and mental health of their people,” she said.

“For those, yes, the view of the employer has been deteriorating.”

THE IMPACT ON PARENTS AND THEIR KIDS

Allen said the pandemic has affected parents, which consequently, has affected their children.

“Children have been directly impacted as well with how they spend their time, how they relate with others, family members and friends, what school is like,” she said.

She added the top concern for parents right now is the mental health of their kids, with their children’s education coming in as the second greatest worry.

“Mental health is the primary concern that parents are observing right now and worried about with their children,” Allen said.

Those looking for more information on the mental health index or other helpful resources can find them on the Morneau Shepell website.

– With files from CTV’s Katherine Dow.

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