Sorry, Google. A Day Off Won’t Cure the Burnout Woes.

What recovering from burnout really takes and why WFH was the final straw, but not the original cause

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Title on a Thrive Global Article: Sorry Google, A Day Off Won't Cure the Burnout Woes
Title on a Thrive Global Article: Sorry Google, A Day Off Won't Cure the Burnout Woes by Caitlin Donovan

While I love when burnout makes the headlines (I mean, it’s good for business…).

This week, burnout showed up in a major way in a headline in the NY Times: ‘I Can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers’ and in conjunction with one of the biggest brands of our times: Google Announces Company Holiday To Address Coronavirus Work From Home Burnout.

The New York Times article is excellent. It covers all the pieces that are important in burnout: trauma, overwork, lack of connection, lack of feeling an impact of your work – all of these things are major burnout risk factors. It also covers solutions; therapy, coaching, support groups – all things that have been proven to increase our resilience and lower our mental health. It gets to the heart of what burnout REALLY is and what it takes to shift that pattern.


The Google announcement.


Burnout doesn’t mean you need a vacation.

A day off isn’t going to cut it.

If your people are burnt out, having May 22nd off isn’t going to help them heal. Half of them will probably work anyway because there is some deadline pressure or a project that needs to be finished.

If your people are burnt out, it’s because the leadership isn’t connecting with them in a meaningful way, isn’t guiding them or leading by example by living a balanced life.

If your people are burnt out, even if you think the reason is ‘working from home’, I’m here to tell you, it’s not.

They were burnt out before they got home and then the change, the emotions, the atmosphere of all of this simply made it more obvious.

If, Google, you think that there’s enough reason to give everyone a day off – you might want to consider more drastic measures. Burnout workshops for your leadership – teaching them the true essence of self-care and boundaries and true deep communication so that they know how their actions affect their teams.

1:1 Burnout coaching for top management is another great idea. Allowing people the space to do personal coaching spills over into their work and creates a better atmosphere for everyone.

Working from home adds challenges, sure, but a day off isn’t the solution. A better plan for team communication, mental health support, flexible working hours, the ability to set an out-of-office midday if your kid has to complete a volcano for science class and there’s a fear the kitchen will blow up – these are the shifts every big business will need to learn to make in this new reality.

Let me know if you need some help, I promise to dedicate myself to you and customize a solution that will knock your socks off. If you’re wearing any… we’re WFH after all.

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