Burnout: It’s Here, It’s Real and Your Boss Can Play A Big Role in Helping or Exacerbating It

Olga Khazan of The Atlantic says when it comes to burnout, it’s not you, it’s your work environment.

The World Health Organization classifies burnout as an exclusively occupational phenomenon that results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Most workers have experienced burnout before, but this past year’s working environment is entirely different. For remote and frontline workers alike, unmanaged stress is a 24/7 reality. However, your boss might have the power to cure your burnout. 

“It’s not really a problem with you, that you should do better, it’s something about your job situation that needs to change.” –Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

Listen: The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan on what causes workplace burnout.


Olga Khazan is a staff writer for The Atlantic. She recently wrote an article titled “Only Your Boss Can Cure Your Burnout.” Khazan says workplace burnout has always been an issue, but it’s intensified when working remotely. “You don’t have a clear delineation of when you should be working and when you shouldn’t be.” She says the pandemic itself is also increasing burnout. “It’s a really long time to be isolated from your support network … That in itself can lead things to feel endless and that the routine is sort of a bad thing, actually,” she says. 

Khazan says the office atmosphere has a huge impact on whether employees feel burned out. “”It’s not really a problem with you, that you should do better, it’s something about your job situation that needs to change.”

There are actions employers can take to prevent burnout. “Even just having to use your own data plan or your own internet, those are all things that, if the office is going to become the home permanently, employers should consider,” she says. 

Web story written by Nora Rhein

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