Study Reveals the State of Recession-Driven Workforce
A CareerBuilder.com survey has revealed that 30% of employers feel their workforce is more productive. Managers attribute the increase to the fear of losing a job and the effect of downsized staffs on individual workloads. The study polled over 2,600 hiring managers and nearly 5,300 workers across several industries.
“The recession produced consequences for not just those who were laid off, but also for the many employees who were asked to work harder as a result of leaner staffs,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. “While getting more out of a smaller workforce is a sign of organizational agility during unpredictable times, it’s hard to see such yield in productivity holding forever.”
Seventy-three percent of managing respondents claiming higher productivity are seeing that level sustain, and 14% report an increased level of production. On the flip side, 26% think workers are less productive now, but the primary reasons cited for the drop off include summer weather, vacation fever and out-of-school kids. Rasmussen’s sentiment is reflected in the workers’ responses. A whopping 77% of workers report feeling sometimes or always burned out while on the job. And 43% reported a higher level of work-related stress over the past six months.
The burnout reported in the study can manifest in three ways, according to Jesus Montero-Marin, senior researcher at the Aragon Institute of Health Sciences in Spain. Three profiles emerged from a University of Zaragoza study, which revealed that chronic work stress and a perceived lack of recognition contribute to worker burnout. Worker burnout, he writes, can appear as frantic, unchallenged and worn psychological profiles.
“The (frantic) profile is associated with the number of hours at work,” says Montero-Marin. He adds that management staff and services personnel can be prone to boredom because of routine tasks and a lack of professional development, thus leading to an unchallenged profile. And the worn profile is exhibited by those who have a long history with a company, with a feeling of not being recognized.
On the bright side, a worker’s social environment can act as a counterbalance to burnout. “Having a family, partner or children can act as a protective cushion, because when people finish their day at work, they leave their workplace worries behind them and focus on other kinds of tasks,” Montero-Marin says.