MillerKnoll: New Research from Future Forum Highlights Benefits of Embracing Flexible Work to Address Employee Burnout

New data reinforces the need for better flexible work strategies as burnout rates increase

Future Forum, a research-based consortium launched by Slack, with founding partners MillerKnoll, Boston Consulting Group, and MLT to help companies better support the future of work, released key findings from its latest global Pulse study. The study strengthens the case for flexible working as a means of addressing rising rates of employee burnout.

The Future Forum Pulse surveys more than 10,000 knowledge workers globally in the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. and new data indicates that burnout among employees is rising.

  • Burnout rose to 40% this quarter globally—an 8% rise from May—with the most significant increase in the U.S., where 43% of “desk workers” reported feeling burned out.
  • There’s a notable gender gap between women and men on the issue of burnout, with female workers showing 32% more burnout than their male counterparts.
  • Younger workers are more likely to experience burnout, with 49% of 18-to-29-year-olds saying they feel burned out compared with just 38% of workers over the age of 30.
  • Middle managers are also at high risk for burnout, at 43%, followed by individual contributors at 40%, senior management at 37%, and executives at 32%.
  • Employees who say they feel burned out are 3.5 times as likely to feel “very disconnected” from company values and 35% of them are “likely” or “very likely” to be looking for a new job, versus 11% who say they aren’t burned out.

Embracing flexible working can play an important role in alleviating burnout:

  • Flexible remote work policies were cited as the number one factor that has improved company culture over the past two years.
  • Workers who have full schedule flexibility are reporting 29% higher productivity and 53% greater ability to focus than workers with no ability to shift their schedule.
  • Workers with schedule flexibility are 26% less likely to be burned out with hybrid workers experiencing lower burnout than those working either entirely remotely or in the office.

MillerKnoll’s experience has shown that the workplace can play a significant role in supporting flexible working and, by diversifying the types of spaces found within the office, can help employees struggling with burnout.

A recent study completed by MillerKnoll dove deeper into the reasons that prevented employees from spending more time at the office. The top reason was employees’ concerns about their ‘overall mental/emotional/physical wellbeing.’ These findings show a correlation between burnout and employees’ interest in working in-office.

“As employers continue to address their office space, constructing an environment that encourages revitalization, social support and engagement will lead to healthier and happier employees,” said Joseph White, Director of Design Strategy for Placemaking Research and Insight at MillerKnoll.

“Fortunately, we’ve seen our customers strengthen community and enhance autonomy within their organizations by prioritizing places for individual restoration and community building within their facilities,” continued White.

For more findings, view the full Future Forum Q3 Pulse report.

About MillerKnoll

MillerKnoll is a collective of dynamic brands that comes together to design the world we live in. MillerKnoll brand portfolio includes Herman Miller, Knoll, Colebrook Bosson Saunders, DatesWeiser, Design Within Reach, Edelman Leather, Fully, Geiger, HAY, Holly Hunt, KnollTextiles, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, Muuto, NaughtOne, and Spinneybeck|FilzFelt.  MillerKnoll is an unparalleled platform that redefines modern for the 21st century by building a more sustainable, equitable and beautiful future for all.