MORE than six in ten managers have experienced burnout at work because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a fifth considering quitting.

The findings come from new research assessing the impact of the pandemic on the UK's workforce one year on, by York's not-for-profit healthcare provider, Benenden Health.

The research has revealed the effect of Covid-19 on the working lives of managers and their subsequent experiences of burnout - exhaustion, stress, cynicism and/or feelings of reduced professional ability due to demands at work.

The main causes in the past year were anxiety about the future (46 per cent), a lack of sleep (40 per cent), limited social interaction (35 per cent), increased demands from senior leadership (28 per cent) and managing home schooling with work (26 per cent), whilst a third (34 per cent) said working longer hours had contributed.

Despite more than half of managers (55 per cent) wanting to take time off work due to burnout brought on by the pressures of the pandemic, only a fifth have done so (21per cent), with others revealing they couldn’t due to their workload being too high (36 per cent), their team needing them (33 per cent), fearing an absence would impact their career progression (32 per cent) and that senior management wouldn’t let them (16 per cent).

The survey of UK-based managers also revealed that only a fifth (20 per cent) of those who have experienced burnout have sought medical support, whilst a third (33 per cent) either took time off as annual leave or a physical health sick day to hide the real reason for their absence.

With the coronavirus pandemic placing such a serious strain on the nation’s workforce, UK businesses are now facing a mental wellbeing crisis as individuals suffer in silence, having a knock-on effect on the culture, retention, productivity and overall performance of organisations.

On a personal level, a third of managers reported that work has caused increased anxiety in the past year (33 per cent), four in ten said it has caused mood swings (27 per cent), a quarter revealed their diet has got worse (26 per cent), one in five (18 per cent) have consumed more alcohol and a tenth (10per cent) said their relationship with their partner has deteriorated.

As the nation begins to slowly roll back Covid-19 restrictions, one in six managers (17 per cent) revealed that they are worried about being encouraged to work from an office before they are comfortable doing so, whilst 16 per cent believe that the easing of restrictions will put more pressure on them at work.

With one in eight saying that they fear the culture within their business will get worse once restrictions ease, businesses may also need to consider how they maintain a feeling of togetherness as life returns to something more like normality.

The future of traditional office working was also revealed to be in jeopardy as more than two thirds (69%) of managers said they would like to work from home – at least part-time – on a permanent basis.

Naomi Thompson, head of OD at Benenden Health, said: “It goes without saying that the past year has been incredibly challenging for individuals across the nation, both in our personal lives and at work.

“Businesses too have suffered immensely from the Covid-19 pandemic and these pressures have filtered down to management, who have been vital in keeping operations going at work whilst managing their own lives at home.

“What we are seeing is that there is a burnout epidemic across the nation’s managers, but too often these individuals feel too helpless, worried and embarrassed to open up and seek support for their mental wellbeing concerns.

“An open, two-way conversation must now take place to ensure employees are able to disclose and address any mental wellbeing concerns without fear. It is also important that employers are in a position to support appropriately and effectively, to the benefit of both individual employees, and the business as a whole. In building a happy, healthy and productive workforce, employers will also have to consider how their operations change as restrictions ease, ensuring that employee wellbeing is at the forefront of these conversations.”

Download Benenden Health's report ‘The elephant that never left the office: Why stigma is still preventing employees from telling their boss the truth about their mental wellbeing in the workplace’, at