Is It Time to Run an Employee Burnout Survey?


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If you’re feeling burnt out at work (and who isn’t sometimes?), then there’s a good chance some of your team members are too. Levels of employee burnout are being reported as higher than ever across the United States. That means it might be time to run an employee burnout survey to check in with your team. 

When businesses and leaders take the initiative to address these issues head on, they can help keep their team happy which in turn improves productivity and employee retention. In some cases, your employees might be upfront about feeling burnt out. Or perhaps you’re able to see it on their faces. But what about for hybrid or remote teams? It’s not always possible to gauge how they’re feeling simply by exchanging a few emails or phone calls. Not to mention, when you have a team of dozens (or more) employees, it becomes almost impossible to see how everyone is doing.

But that’s where an employee burnout survey comes in!

What is Employee Burnout?

Before we get into the details of creating these surveys, let’s talk about what employee burnout means in the first place.

Let’s turn to the Mayo Clinic to hear how they define employee or job burnout:

Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.

“Burnout” isn’t a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Researchers point out that individual factors, such as personality traits and family life, influence who experiences job burnout.

Burnout Symptoms

It might be easy to spot burnout in yourself. Or, if you’re able to keep a close eye on your team, you could spot any number of burnout symptoms, including:

  • Feeling cynical or critical at work
  • Being easily irritated or frustrated with team members and clients
  • Lacking energy and productivity
  • Lacking satisfaction even when achieving accomplishments
  • Using substances (include food or alcohol) to cope with job stress
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical symptoms including headaches and stomach problems

But again, as obvious as some of these symptoms may be if you experience them for yourself or see them firsthand, your employees might not be in your physical presence each day. Not to mention, in email or phone interactions, these symptoms can be harder to spot. And this takes us back to the importance of conducting employee burnout surveys!

Causes of Employee Burnout

The events of the past year and a half are enough for anyone to feel burnt out. When you add in the stress of adapting to working from home, financial struggles, health risks, homeschooling, and more, many people have reached their limit.

When it comes to employee burnout specifically, however, there are a number of factors in the workplace that can lead to it.

Here are a few examples:

  • Toxic workplace culture and dysfunctional dynamics
  • A lack of control at work
  • Unclear expectations
  • A lack of work-life balance due to extremely long work hours and high demand
  • Lacing social support and resources

What is an Employee Burnout Survey?

These surveys are meant to gauge employee satisfaction and address any signs of burnout before they become bigger issues. There are a few different ways to go about conducting an employee burnout survey.

In an explicit survey, you can ask them outright if they’re experiencing signs or symptoms of burnout. Alternatively, an implicit employee burnout survey asks questions that don’t outright include the term “burnout.”

There are also different types of surveys that can be appropriate for collecting this information. If you want your employees to have the opportunity to elaborate on their answers, we encourage you to consider open-ended questions. If you’re simply trying to get an idea of how many employees may be experiencing burnout, a simple Likert Scale survey might be appropriate.

(No matter which survey type is appropriate for your workplace, Swift Polling has all of the online polling tools you need to collect the data you’re looking for!)

Survey Question Examples

If you’re ready to create an employee burnout survey for your team, here are some questions you might want to include. We will also include a number of question types so you have options depending on the type of survey you plan to create.

  1. Are you feeling burnt out at work? A) Yes B) Sometimes C) No
  2. On a scale of 1-5 (with 1 being minimal), how much of a work-life balance do you feel you have?
  3. What is the most stressful aspect of your job? (Open-ended response)
  4. How many days a month do you “take your work home with you” and work after hours because you’re unable to complete your workload during work hours? A) Never B) 1-3 days C) 4-6 days D) 6 days or more
  5. How often do you feel stressed at work? A) Rarely B) Occasionally C) Once a month D) Several times a month E) Several times a week



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