More burnout complaints since the pandemic, but does this exist in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson

Four in ten Spaniards admit to having burnout complaints since the pandemic. Adecco examined the mental health of more than 14,800 employees worldwide, and Spain scores quite high. Yet burnout still seems taboo in Spanish culture. 

The corona pandemic has already claimed many victims, including more than 88,000 deaths. It is now also clear that the pandemic is not just about death or life. 37% of Spaniards say they have suffered from burnout complaints since the start of the pandemic. This is according to a research report by Adecco. Furthermore, this is 5% higher than the world average. 

Many factors take a toll on Spanish workers 

Between May 2020 and June 2021, Adecco conducted this survey among more than 14,800 employees in 25 countries around the world. According to the report ‘Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era Of Work 2021‘, several factors play a role in these complaints: the stress and the fear of becoming infected, that you or one of your loved ones could die from the virus, working from home, the workload, the imbalance between work and private life, and all this in combination with the uncertain economic situation take their toll on many working Spaniards. 

Mental complaints of all times 

However, according to the director of Adecco, this problem is not new. Psychosocial problems occur in all kinds of organisations and many old problems and ingrained habits have already been adapted for more work-life balance. The report therefore not only provides insights into how employees are now but also shows the views of employees in different countries about the work situation during and after the pandemic. 

Spanish workers not hopeful about future work situation 

Employees expect companies to take appropriate measures to contribute to greater well-being at work. Nevertheless, 64% of Spaniards say their managers “don’t have the skills to make this happen”. 

Only 14% expect their employer to provide burnout prevention support in the future. Finally, 34% of Spanish workers say they would consider changing jobs if their employer doesn’t offer more flexibility. 

Vision on burnout among Spaniards 

Although such a large proportion of Spanish employees indicate that they suffer from mental complaints, the proportion of Spaniards who are at home with burnout still seems to be a lot smaller than in the Netherlands, for example. For example, the Dutch journalist Carlijn Teeven from Barcelona wrote a piece in 2019 about why no one in Spain seems to have burnout and spoke to various experts about this. 

Teeven explains that Spaniards work hard and work long hours and are aware of work stress. In addition, wages in Spain are a lot lower, which means that Spaniards have to work more to pay the costs. Spaniards simply cannot afford to sit at home for a period of time. 

Burnout in Spain also seems to be a taboo. Many Spaniards do not dare to talk about mental complaints because they are afraid of losing their job if they show signs that they cannot cope with the work. 

Related article: Stress awareness in difficult times


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