Does Being Online Encourage Employee Burnout?

19th December 2013

Online recruitment agencies and indeed any businesses with some sort of involvement online (i.e. 100%!) can find it hard to switch off when we leave the office. BUT is this a one track way to employee-burnout and stress-related illness as opposed to increased levels of success?

We found a superb article by Jacque Vilet in about employee burnout and being online constantly - even after working hours - playing a significant part in this. The article talks about being at “work” both before we come in and after we leave the office - something that simply didn’t exist a decade ago.

Our Experience As An Online Recruitment Agency
In an age of iPads, smartphones, tablets, laptops and any number of gadgets that allow us to get on to the World Wide Web - it can be hard to switch off. Some aeroplanes now have wifi access, not to mention all the coffee shops, shopping malls and train stations that have it too - you can now even Skype on the treadmill and have Internet access while you work out!

As an online recruitment agency, we of course do a huge amount online - and with a predominantly online business, gadgets that allow you to be online in more places, on the move and for longer periods of time, mean that inevitably we take advantage of these facilities and spend more time working.

The Dangers
As with most businesses nowadays, sending and receiving email into the late hours of the evening after you’ve left the office is common - but as Jacque mentions, it also has some pretty big consequences, in fact one bank was investigated when one of their London employees lost his life from an epileptic seizure brought on from fatigue.

Social Media
Additionally, the addictive nature of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and their widespread use in business has been noted in relation to employee burnout with these being cited as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. Employees have the same amount of time as they always did, but is the line between work and rest becoming so blurred because of the Internet and social media, that ever increasing numbers of us feel like we have no time at all?

Following the Lead of Others
The article notes that some companies have started to take action preventing burnout as the effects and dangers of it become more apparent:

Volkswagen - Have de-activated emails on German Blackberries’ outside of work hours
Quirky - A New York company have initiated a black out week once a quarter where no employees are allowed to work (excludes customer service staff)
Lloyds Bank - Have banned travel in the third week of every month

One company in Ohio has also now introduced an alert system, whereby its staff has access to medical and emotional support if they are suffering the effects of burnout.

This is a very real issue - are you suffering or have you suffered the effects of burnout? Do you find social media addictive? Get in touch and let us know!

Jamie Mistlin, - find me on Google+.