Employee burnout classified as occupational hazard

Employee burnout can lead to increased depression among workers, which can have an impact on productivity
Employee burnout results from chronic workplace stress (Photo: Igor Stevanovic, dreamstime.com)

In late May, the World Health Organization listed “burnout” as an occupational phenomenon.

Although burnout is listed in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases, WHO was quick to clarify that it does not consider it a medical condition. Instead, it’s classified as a “syndrome … resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Related: How workplace stress hurts your bottom line

WHO gave three characteristics of employee burnout:

• “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

• increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and

• reduced professional efficacy.”

“Work is good for mental health but a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems,” the agency noted in a fact sheet issued in May. It estimated that depression costs the global economy around $1 trillion annually in lost productivity.

Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus is the managing editor of Colorado Builder. She can be reached at [email protected].

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