Today, millions of professionals are part of a global burnout culture. As they try to climb the career ladder, they are faced with more and more messages encouraging them to rise earlier, work harder and even sleep less. As one popular business influencer asserted, “I’m grinding while you’re sleeping,” a troubling implication that even the act of sleep is a vice.
Of course, burnout isn’t a new phenomenon — it was identified as early as 1974 — yet only as recently as May 2020 has the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially recognised burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis in its eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It couldn’t have come at a better time, too, as stress and pressures brought on by the global coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated the problem.
The reason we should all be concerned about the culture of chronic stress is that its effects are many and far-reaching. From poor mental and physical health across the global workforce (and as a result, millions of sick days taken), to the massive tolls on productivity, burnout is a problem that impacts employer and employee alike.