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Mark Lyttleton: Understanding Exhaustion and its Prevalence in the Modern World

Mark Lyttleton is a visionary investor, entrepreneurial guide and public speaker who backs fledgling enterprises dedicated to making a positive impact on our world. Besides offering strategic guidance, he also imparts personal counsel to founders, assisting them in navigating the trials and stresses of establishing, operating and expanding a thriving enterprise. This piece will delve into a work-related phenomenon known as ‘exhaustion’ and its contribution to a global crisis of human vitality.

In parallel with the issue of climate change, there is a growing mental wellness crisis afflicting the globe. While the warning signals of climate change are glaringly obvious, with erratic temperatures, melting polar ice caps, rising ocean levels, and extreme weather catastrophes making frequent headlines, there is also a deepening human vitality crisis on a personal level. A startling 7 out of 10 individuals worldwide report facing mental health challenges or hardships, as per a Gallup survey.

Experts posit that the human vitality crisis is exerting a profound impact on the professional sphere. Since the onset of the pandemic, post-work hours have spiked by 28%, weekend work has surged by 14% on average, and the typical workday duration has expanded by more than 13%.

The pandemic compelled employers to embrace greater flexibility in terms of how, where, and when their staff work. However, without intervention, this flexibility may further exacerbate the existing dilemma.

The human vitality crisis necessitates a fresh breed of work environment that is progressively becoming critical for all entities. For corporate leaders, the challenge ahead mandates a proactive consideration of employees’ vitality and welfare at work, as well as the facilitation of pragmatic and sustainable energy levels.

Across epochs, individuals have toiled diligently, pushing their boundaries. In the context of the human vitality crisis, insights from the Work Trend Index signal that employees have adopted a novel framework for determining the value of their work, with 56% of female respondents and 55% of parents concurring that they are now more inclined to prioritize their health and wellness over work commitments compared to before. In fact, a growing number of employees are acting upon these instincts. In 2021, the primary reason for resignations was attributed to mental health and personal well-being concerns.

Occupational burnout represents a distinct form of workplace pressure, characterized by physical or emotional depletion leading to an erosion of personal identity and diminished sense of accomplishment. While ‘burnout’ does not qualify as a medical diagnosis, its repercussions on workplace efficiency and an individual’s mental well-being can be profound. Certain experts speculate that correlated conditions such as depression may underlie burnout. Research indicates that factors like family dynamics and personal traits could augment an individual’s vulnerability to burnout.

To mitigate the risks of burnout, each enterprise must empower its workforce while providing adaptable support for the comprehensive well-being of all employees. Employers must take a holistic view of the individual, fostering professional growth while upholding an open feedback mechanism to ensure that all team members feel valued and empowered.

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