Some 4 million Netherlands workers at risk of burnout

Four million people in the Netherlands are at risk of burning out within six months if no action is taken, according to a survey by the national center for stress and burnout NCPSB among 427 professionals. This number increased significantly due to the coronavirus crisis, NCPSB chairman Theo Immers said to newspaper AD.

“We are seeing the risk group rising enormously due to the corona crisis. 56 percent of workers will burn out within zero to six months if they do not receive support now. In 2019, when we also conducted this survey, it was 17 percent,” Immers said.

The researchers did not only look at already present symptoms, but also at other indicators that could warn of an impending burnout, such as decreasing analytical skills and poorer conflict management. Many people are struggling to manage the stress associated with working from home, and added stress over job security due to the current economic situation. On top of that, sectors like healthcare faced very long working days during the height of the crisis, and a second wave is approaching.

A survey trade union CNV published last month, conducted by Maurice de Hond, showed that 34 percent of workers said that their workload is higher than ever due to the coronavirus crisis. 11 percent said that they were approaching a burnout.

According to Immers, it is not surprising that the NCPSB’s figures are higher. “A large part – 80 percent of the overworked people – do not see a burnout coming. In the CNV study, only people who know that they are facing a burnout came forward. But we know that people who experience stress find it difficult to analyze themselves. Stress and stress management hold each other in their grip.”

Immers called it important that employers, especially in vital sectors, take action to prevent burnouts. “If you intervene with this group on time and make them resilient with virtual coaching sessions, for example, you should be able to prevent a lot,” he said to the newspaper. People often don’t realize how much pressure they put on themselves. Three to four hours of coaching is usually sufficient to help workers set up a balanced routine, he said.