Study finds a new type of burnout is emerging in the workplace

Moral injury and stress in the workplace are contributing to a new type of burnout

Burnout, wellness study
(Image credit: Mizuno K / Pexels)

Burnout – characterised as a state of physical and emotional exhaustion by Mental Health UK (opens in new tab) – has become increasingly common in recent years, especially during the pandemic.

The most recurring type of burnout that we see today is work-related and new research conducted by Sheffield University (opens in new tab), Affinity Health (opens in new tab) and Softer Success (opens in new tab) has found that a new type of burnout is emerging in the workplace.

The study looked at how moral injury affects people in the workplace and how it can contribute to burnout. The research revealed that moral injury and stress are causing a more intense type of burnout across business sectors, which is said to be far more challenging to overcome, resulting in people resigning from their jobs because of it.

Burnout study

(Image credit: Anna Tarazevich / Pexels)

Founder & CEO of Softer Success, Cara de Lange commented that “this new, more intense type of burnout could be behind some of the biggest workplace trends we’re seeing at the moment.”

She continued: “Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t actively choosing to disengage from work, it’s more the case that they’re struggling to cope with this ‘always-on’ hustle culture that society has created… This study is a further sign that we need to change the way we work by addressing moral injury and burnout structurally.”

Now more than ever before, people are becoming more and more worried about burnout. According to Mental Health UK, burnout doesn’t go away on its own and can worsen over time. By ignoring the signs of burnout, people can cause further harm to their physical and mental health and lose the ability and energy to do their jobs and other parts of their day-to-day life.

What are signs of burnout?

The most common signs of burnout include feeling tired most of the time and detached and negative about the world. Self-doubt, procrastination and helplessness are also signs of burnout and can be experienced within work or outside of it.

Due to the changes in the workplace after the pandemic, more businesses put mental health and burnout plans in place to recognise when their employees are suffering. However, 1 in 5 people told Mental Health UK that they felt unable to manage stress and pressure in the workplace.

This ties in to the new study from Sheffield University, Affinity Health and Softer Success, as they characterised this new type of burnout as the ‘2022 type’ in their findings.

The researchers put forward that the following signs could mean you’re experiencing the 2022 type of burnout: feeling ashamed or embarrassed, anxious or fearful during the day, unable to switch off from work and feeling disinterested and disengaged from work or everyday life.

Burnout study

(Image credit: Darlene Alderson / Pexels)

Preventing burnout

The main thing this new research found was that more organisations need to take burnout seriously and put measures in place to recognise when an employee might be suffering from it. Better training, being attuned to colleagues and focusing more on employee wellbeing were mentioned as ways to prevent workplace burnout.

There are also things that people can do themselves to prevent burnout. For example, a recent study found that taking 10 minute micro-breaks (opens in new tab) throughout the day could help improve productivity and minimise stress. We also found these 5 stress-busting techniques (opens in new tab) helped ease tension and bring forward positive feelings and if stress is keeping you awake, these 3 sleep techniques (opens in new tab) could help you drift off quicker and calm your thoughts.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Acting Wellness Editor & Deals Writer

As T3's resident Shopping Expert and Deals Writer, Beth covers deals, discount codes, how to save money and seasonal holidays, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day, Boxing Day and Easter sales. Alongside her primary focus of deals, Beth is currently Acting Wellness Editor, covering all things sleep, yoga, relaxation and general wellbeing.


Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting DIY craft projects that will probably end in disaster!