SHRM Survey: Nearly Half of U.S. Workers Feel Mentally, Physically Exhausted by End of Workday

May 4, 2021

Media Contact: Julie Hirschhorn

ALEXANDRIA, Va.— In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, new research from SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) highlights the psychological toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on employed Americans. While millions work to integrate their professional and personal responsibilities, 48 percent of U.S. workers feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the workday, while another 41 percent report feeling burned out from their work.

The survey on the mental health of U.S. workers more than a year into the pandemic shows burnout and symptoms of depression persist. Of note, working women reported experiencing burnout at significantly higher rates than men, and employees who telework often experience more depressive symptoms compared to those who don't telework.

Key findings show that in the past few weeks:

  • Nearly half (48 percent) of employed Americans report feeling mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the workday.
  • Forty-one percent of employed Americans report feeling burned out from their work.
  • Nearly one third of employees who telework (32 percent) report often feeling tired or having little energy, 7 percentage points higher than those who work in-person.
  • Nearly half of working women (49 percent) report feeling depleted from their work, 16 percentage points higher than working men.
  • Forty-three percent of working Americans without children in their household report feeling burned out and emotionally drained from work, 9 percent higher than those with children.

"There's no shortage of challenges facing Americans right now—the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a mental health crisis," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and CEO. "Now more than ever, employers must be alert and look for signs that may indicate employees are hurting and take concrete actions to help them as we start returning to work." 

The research also found a higher percentage of employed young Millennials and individuals in Gen Z have reported experiencing more depressive symptoms often over the past few weeks. Nearly a third of employed younger Millennials/Gen Z report often feeling tired or having little energy (32 percent), compared to 26 percent of older Millennials, 30 percent of Gen X and 20 percent of Baby Boomers/Traditionalists.

Taylor added: "This data underscores how mental health and our work-life are inextricably connected. Above all, we want to ensure that HR is there for employees—ready with the resources and tools they need to help the workforce. If we're not prioritizing our employees' mental health, we're not doing our jobs."

SHRM and the SHRM Foundation are committed to helping workplaces provide actionable tools to support employee mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond—working with critical business partners to develop and curate solutions and resources to help HR professionals tackle one of the most challenging issues of our time – the mental health and wellness of their employees.

Methodology: A sample of 578 employed Americans was surveyed using the AmeriSpeak Omnibus, NORC at the University of Chicago's probability-based panel. The survey was administered Thursday, March 25 to Monday, March 29, 2021. For the purposes of this survey, we refer to "employed Americans" as those who are either working as a paid employee or have been laid off or furloughed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. All data was weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population.

About SHRM
SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.



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