More than half of Russians suffering burnout in Q2 2022
Survey by hh.ru and health tech finds more than half of Russians felt emotionally burned out in Q2 2022
The survey was carried out between 25 April and 10 May with 1,250 working Russians over the age of 18. The online recruitment portal hh.ru and the health tech company AIBY found that 54% of those polled felt burned out at work in the second quarter of 2022, 39% did not think they had any signs of burnout, and 7% did not believe it existed.
In 50% of cases, excessive workloads and a busy schedule had led to emotional fatigue. Other reasons included unhappiness with earnings (37%), inner feelings of dissatisfaction and impostor syndrome (32%), lack of time for personal and professional activities (31%) and unsupportive relationships at work (29%).
To tackle burnout in full, 42% of respondents said they would be prepared to resign and find another job, 22% would take an extended break after resigning, and 10% would start their own business or move to another country.
ASI talked to various civil society organisations to explore how far the emotional fabric of the workplace has changed.
Where does emotional pressure come from?
Sofia Rusova is the public and media engagement officer for the Association of Women’s Civil Society Organisations. The Association works on violence, domestic cruelty and child abuse, Sofia says. So she already deals with higher levels of emotional pressure at work than most. After 24 February, during the second quarter, the pressure increased because her colleagues’ response to world events was to feel anxious as they saw levels of violence increasing across the globe.
“At a professional level, we’re worried about the future of our organisation. As recent events have seen large companies pulling out, we’ve started to lose some of our financial backing. Meanwhile, there’s been a consistently high number of requests for legal, advocacy and other types of support from women and women with children. We’re concerned about whether we can continue to provide the same level of help that we used to as a minimum. On top of which we’re predicting a rise in violent behaviour,” she says.
The team has been affected by concerns about the future in general, as well as the future of the organisation and themselves as individual members of society and human rights advocates. In these uncertain times, the Association is at risk of losing the human rights tools that they have honed over the years.
According to Rusova, everyone is now living in the same information space. This is further tainting the emotional atmosphere, particularly for colleagues who cannot switch off from the flow of information. Added to which, they must make sure they engage professionally with people who have a variety of viewpoints and beliefs.
Another challenge is having to be careful about what they say so that they stay on the right side of the law. The whole team has also stayed in Russia on the “frontline of events” because their work requires them to go to court and engage with the investigating authorities.
There is always a lot of work at the Living today foundation (Zhivi seichas), as its Director Natalia Lugovaya explained to ASI. The staff there are flagging, and circumstances are getting more difficult as charitable donations start to shrink.
“No-one in the team is going to look for another job, but burnout and emotional pressure are certainly in the air. We’ve lost a significant portion of our donations from abroad, and the foundation is low on funds. We’ll have to think about cutting some of our programmes and even laying off some of our staff – that’s also a really painful process for us. The outlook is currently very bleak. The foundation mainly relies on regular donations, but now, the amount of those gifts has also dropped sharply,” says Lugovaya.
Coping with burnout and what can help
In the charity sector, emotional burnout is not an uncommon problem, says Natalia Petrova, Development Director of the Our Children foundation (Deti Nashi). That is why staff who work directly with service users are monitored and work with a psychologist.
“For example, in comparison to the second quarter of last year, we can definitely see higher levels of anxiety and stress. It’s directly related to the uncertainty of our current situation. In the first instance, we’ve been doing all we can to reassure colleagues about the resilience of the organisation. Being able to believe in tomorrow really helps improve people’s general mental well-being,” says Petrova.
Another team at the foundation is trying to meet up and talk to each other more frequently – informal socialising also helps reduce levels of anxiety.
Irina Taubinskaya is a public engagement officer at the charity Children’s Palliative Care (Detski Palliativ). She says they noticed emotional strain, anxiety, fear and even despair in their team. It lasted from the end of February to the middle of March.
But according to Taubinskaya, the nature of their work means they cannot dwell on things for too long or lose heart.
“We ran a strategy workshop and worked out our new plans and how to achieve them. Of course our planning horizon is still very provisional, and the background worries that each of our colleagues has are clearly here to stay. But by and large, the new working environment in the charity sector that demands much greater levels of effort, time and resources just leaves us with no time or option to burn out. At any rate, that’s how it is in the office,” she says.