At least 64 percent (Two-thirds) of Nigerian employees are at increased risk for ‘burnout’, a medical condition caused by excessive and prolonged stress, and usually resulting in significant mental health difficulties among other diseases, a new report has found.
According to the report, released by WellNewMe on Wednesday, people suffering from burnout often experience emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion, which can have serious physical and mental health-related consequences, from which it can take a long time, and a lot of treatment, to recover.
The report revealed other consequences of the condition to include; alcohol or substance misuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, vulnerability to illnesses, such as colds, malaria.
Others are; excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, sadness, anger, or irritability.
“People with burnout can be irritable, unpredictable, isolated, frustrated, confrontational, irrational, and very hard to be with. This can have catastrophic consequences for a family, in the workplace, or for friendships”, the report read.
It noted that women have a slightly higher risk than men.
The report also found that the condition leads to presenteeism (working when unwell), absenteeism, and an increase in turnover of staff, which costs companies much more, it warned that Nearly 2 in 10 employees will require immediate assistance as when demonstrating behaviours that indicated that they were at crisis point.
Further breakdown of the report found that about 6 in 10 employees were at an increased risk from suffering from physical exhaustion; 49 percent were at an increased risk for emotional exhaustion with an increased risk of suffering from depression; 3 in 10 of all employees are at an increased risk for mental exhaustion and about 40 percent of Nigerian employees were found to be an increased risk for spiritual exhaustion.
It noted that the condition is often ignored as studies on burnout among Nigerian employees are very limited, despite the devastating impact it could have on individuals, businesses, and the society at large.
“Despite its serious consequences for employers, burnout in the workplace is one of those conditions that companies across the world are struggling with. Its effects are even more telling in resource low countries like Nigeria when often mitigation of the risks and treatment of burnout is not very commonplace”, Obi Igbokwe, one of the co-founders of WellNewMe said.
” WellNewMe has developed a tool to help companies in determining the risks and have partnered with Green Oaks Consulting to provide a comprehensive and more holistic approach to managing individuals who need treatment”, he informed.
Igbokwe added that there are significant mental health difficulties in the workplace in Nigeria as indicated by the results of the survey, stating that mental ill-health arising from burnout is one of the most significant factors that underpin absenteeism and presenteeism.
“Companies in Nigeria need to foster mentally healthy workplaces and there needs to be an organisational approach to preventing and managing the risk of burn out which can be identified and encapsulated using the Energy Management Assessment Tool developed by the digital health company, WellNewMe,” he advised.
The report stressed that treating employees at risk of burn out is beneficial, not only to the wellbeing of the individual but also to the organisation in terms of their return on investment due to improved productivity.
“It is important that companies invest and equip their Line Managers and Human Resource Teams to be able to support good mental health in their employees”, it added.
The report is a result of a survey on 1,323 Nigerian employees, conducted over a 4 month period from May 2019 to August 2019.