Burnout recognised as a medical diagnosis

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Burnout has officially been recognised as a medical diagnosis by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It comes as 47 per cent of Irish managers believe their employees may be at risk of burnout, and 36 per cent of employees believe their mental health has suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The findings, from a study by recruitment agency Robert Walters Ireland, also revealed that 87 per cent of Irish employees feel the pressure to be more productive when working remotely.

A study has found that 87 per cent of Irish workers feel pressure to be more productive when working remotely.
A study has found that 87 per cent of Irish workers feel pressure to be more productive when working remotely.

The pressure to keep productivity levels consistently high comes from a desire to to prove the case for working from home post-Covid, according to the study.

Despite ‘burnout’ not being a new phenomenon, identified as early as 1974, the WHO has only officially recognised burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis in its eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) in May of this year.

According to WHO; burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

Reduced professional efficacy

Suzanne Feeney, director at Robert Walters Ireland, said: “There is no denying that mental health & wellbeing has been on the agenda for most employers – even pre-Covid.

“Increasingly we were seeing offices be re-designed ergonomically, work health insurances enhanced to provide mental health support, and training provided to managers to help understand and deal with employees suffering from poor mental health.

“Many of these policies were geared around personal mental health issues – such as depression and anxiety – which have an impact or were exasperated by work.

“Burnout is an entirely different and recently recognised condition which, unlike other mental health issues, can be directly linked to work. As a result, employers have a crucial and central role to play in order to ensure their staff do not reach the point of burnout.”



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