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Are Your Workers Among the 30 Percent Burned Out Post-Layoffs?

Do you count yourself as a survivor? No, I’m not talking about your obsession with the Beyoncé video (and you should probably keep that to yourself), but about company layoffs. As a leader, if you are a survivor of a layoff, you have a unique perspective on its effects on the employees who remain — after the employee boxes have been packed up, goodbyes have been exchanged (if that’s even an option) and the dust has settled.

Results of a new CareerBuilder survey of more than 4,400 workers nationwide have revealed that workers who have survived layoffs within their organizations are facing new challenges in the forms of increased workloads and heightened stress.

As a result of layoffs within their organization:

  • 47 percent of workers reported taking on more responsibility
  • 37 percent said they are handling the work of two people
  • 34 percent are spending more time at the office
  • 30 percent feel burned out

Workin’ on the weekend

So, how much time are workers now spending at the office to make up for their growing “To Do” lists? Well, nearly one-fifth of workers (17 percent) who have kept their jobs are putting in at least 10 hours per day.  To add to that stress, twenty-two percent are working more weekends.

“Companies today are having to do more with less as they contend with shrinking budgets and staff levels,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.  “Employees are feeling added pressure as they shoulder heavier workloads and strive to maintain productivity levels.  It’s critical that managers and employees work together to prioritize and set realistic expectations, so work demands feel attainable and less overwhelming.”

Helping your employees

As a leader, you are likely experiencing your own types of challenges. Yet, as your workers are saddled with heaps of extra work and stress, you must make it a priority to help them through this tough time.

Haefner recommends the following tips to keep stress levels in check. (Pass these along to your employees):

1) Don’t over-promise. If two or more projects come up at the same time, work with your supervisor to identify which takes precedence and establish reasonable timelines.

2) Take time to recharge. Go for a walk on your lunch break.  Take a personal day.  Get eight hours of sleep.  Ultimately, recharging your battery will serve you and the company better.

3) Cut the e-leash. Unless needed, turn off electronic devices at a certain time of the day to designate the end of that workday and avoid getting caught up in discussions that can wait until the morning.

4) Explore flexible work arrangements. Cutting your commute one or two days a week can help shorten your workday.  More employers today are open to offering telecommuting and other options that may help to provide a better work/life balance.

5) Don’t get caught up in the rumor mill. Forty-two percent of workers reported they are fearful of layoffs within their organization.  Ignore speculation and focus on the task at hand.

Read the full press release here.

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.


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