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SHRM Survey: 41 Percent of Workers Feel Burnt Out During Pandemic

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 11, 2020 — New research from SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) offers a warning to U.S. companies about the psychological costs of COVID-19. While millions find themselves unemployed, 41 percent of U.S. employees feel burnt out from work while another 23 percent report feeling depressed. The survey on the mental health of U.S. workers under lockdown also found employees are struggling with negative emotions, concentration, and motivation. Notably, rates were higher among women, younger workers, and those living with a vulnerable person.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) employees report feeling down, depressed, or hopeless often;
  • 41 percent feel burnt out, drained, or exhausted from their work;
  • More than 1 in 5 employees report COVID-19 has threatened the tangible parts of their jobs to a great extent or to a very great extent, including personal opportunities, job security, safe working conditions, and benefits and pay;
  • Over 1 in 3 employees (37 percent) reported having done nothing to cope with these feelings and only (7 percent) have reached out to a mental health professional.

(Full findings here.)

"It's a timely reminder during Mental Health Awareness Month that there's more to this crisis than new cases and economic costs," said SHRM President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. "COVID-19 is taking a toll on our minds and emotions in a million little ways. Now, more than ever, employers should double down against stigmas and guarantee employees know of the resources, benefits, and accommodations available."   

The research also found women, younger workers, and those with living with a vulnerable person (i.e. heath workers, essential employees, those over 65 years old, and the immunocompromised) were more severely impacted by COVID-19. For instance, women (51 percent) are more likely than men (47 percent) to report feeling down, depressed, or hopeless often. Half of Generation Z employees (51 percent) agree their work makes them feel burned out compared to 24 percent of Baby Boomers.


Media: Contact Julie Hirschhorn at and 703-842-5152 or Cooper Nye at and 703-535-6447.

Methodology: A sample of 1099 U.S. employees was sourced from the online panel Prolific. The survey was conducted April 15 through April 16.

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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