The number of Britons experiencing stress or burnout in the workplace doubled in 2023 compared to the previous year[1], according to new research from Indeed Flex, the online marketplace for flexible and temporary work.

A staggering 92% of UK employees admit to experiencing burnout or stress in the workplace during their careers. However, the strain has grown rapidly as post-pandemic labour shortages intensified workloads. In 2023 the proportion of UK workers grappling with poor mental health skyrocketed to 37%, almost double the 19% who experienced problems during 2022.

A fifth (19%) of workers have already suffered from burnout or stress in 2024 so far.

The primary factor behind the escalating burnout and stress levels is higher workloads, with 58% of workers citing this as the root cause, while 42% say it’s due to persistent staff shortages. Meanwhile, a third (34%) of employees say their stress and burnout is due to pressure from bosses to work overtime and extend their hours.

The labour market remains tight, with official data showing there were 916,000 vacancies across the UK in the first three months of 2024, with a fifth of adults classed as economically inactive[2]. The number of people out of work because of long-term sickness rose to over 2.5 million people at the end of 2023, an increase of more than 400,000 since the pandemic[3].

Over a third of workers (34%) say they have called in sick as a result of burnout, nearly a quarter (23%) have taken time off using their annual leave and 16% have been signed off work due to the effect on their mental health.

Burnout and stress have led many to re-evaluate their work lifestyle and career choices. Nearly two fifths (38%) of UK workers agree that temporary work offers a better work-life balance and 30% believe it can enable people to scale up or down hours depending on their mental health.

A third (33%) also believe it can be a great way to rebuild their confidence before returning to full-time or part-time employment.

Novo Constare, CEO and Co-founder of Indeed Flex, emphasises how the unrelenting demands on today’s workforce have pushed too many employees to breaking point through stress and burnout. Novo explains that employers’ difficulty in recruiting and ongoing staff shortages have left existing employees overwhelmed, shouldering longer hours and heavier workloads.

This crisis has left many businesses stuck in a vicious cycle, with staff who call in sick or get signed off adding to the burden on other employees. Novo believes the solution to this problem is via temporary work:

By giving people more control over their schedules and the ability to choose which shifts they work, temporary roles offer a way to better integrate work with life’s other demands. This flexibility empowers workers to find the right balance and can be a powerful antidote to the rigid schedules that so often lead to burnout among those in traditional, permanent roles. For businesses, employing temporary workers fills gaps without adding to the workload of permanent staff, reducing burnout risk.

Novo Constare, CEO and Co-founder of Indeed Flex

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.