'Worrying' study finds Kiwi workers more burnt out than counterparts overseas

An academic is concerned burnout in New Zealand will get worse in the wake of a survey on the issue.

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An AUT survey of 1000 New Zealanders during last year’s Covid-19 lockdowns has revealed 11 per cent were burnt out. Source: Breakfast

Classified as an "occupational phenomenon" by the World Health Organisation, burnout is included in its International Classification of Diseases. 

Last year, AUT University professor Jarrod Haar surveyed 1000 Kiwis over how they fared at work during the lockdowns. 

He found 11 per cent of the respondents were burnt out. 

"Those numbers worry me because I think we're going to see this carry on," he told Breakfast today. 

Haar said Kiwi workers had experienced more burnout than their international counterparts. 

Similar studies overseas had found burnout levels were between five to eight per cent.

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AUT researchers found that one in 10 Kiwis suffer from burnout in the workplace. Source: Breakfast

He described signs of burnout as high job anxiety and depression, psychological problems and physical problems.

Workers can't sleep, they have "body problems", and their performance goes out the window, he said. 

"When you wake up in the morning and you're exhausted and the day hasn't even started, that's the red flashing light.

"It is something to be severely avoided."

Haar also found empathetic organisations were 300 per cent less likely to have burnt out employees. 

To address the issue, he said workers need to be open with their employers about needing time off and "crap" employers need to care about their workers.

"If you have good talent, look after it.

"We need to step up and raise my hand and say, ‘Look, I’m exhausted. I need a break.' This will impact you far more than it will impact the organisation, so don’t be shy," Haar said. 

"I think we have to ... look after ourselves."