Financial strain and work pressure are causing unprecedented burnout and stress, and altering mental health and workplace dynamics, in what experts call the ‘Great exhaustion’ phenomenon.
Since the Covid pandemic hit, there has been unprecedented focus on health and well-being. However, most Kenyans are reporting overall well-being scores that are well below the global average according to the eighth annual Cigna 360° Global Well-Being Report.
Kenya scored 60.6 on the 360°Well-being index, below the worldwide average of 62.9 points. This can be attributed to the fact that Kenya recorded one of the lowest scores in the financial index at 44.3 points while also recording one of the highest burnout rates globally, at 95%. A staggering 85% of the respondents that took the survey indicated that they constantly felt connected to work, compared to the global rate of 72%, resulting in one of the highest burnout rates globally.
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According to the report, these scores are the result of the “Great Exhaustion” phenomenon in Kenya, where financial strains and work pressures are contributing to burnout, stress, and challenges for mental health and workplace dynamics. The heightened stress, for example, is already having repercussions with individuals in Kenya experiencing disrupted sleep, reduced social interactions, difficulty concentrating, and a waning interest in usual activities, which, in turn is affecting production at work.
According to Jerome Droesch, Chief Executive Officer of Domestic Health and Health Services for Cigna International Markets, many employers fail to see the critical significance of giving precedence to well-being within the workplace.
“We are witnessing a significant shift in people’s priorities across all age groups post-pandemic, particularly among the youth, who are increasingly receptive to job changes. Employers must acknowledge this evolving landscape. Addressing well-being is no longer a mere option; it has become an absolute necessity. Employers should also contribute to the creation of a more flourishing society,” Droesch said.
The report also uncovered gender disparities in financial well-being, with men scoring higher (46.6) than women (41.8), indicating inequalities in meeting family medical needs and maintaining their current standard of living.
However, on a positive note, Kenya scored above the global average in Physical and Social Health indexes. With a score of 62.4, which exceeds the global average of 60 points, Kenya surpassed countries like the UK, the United States, and Australia in physical health. Additionally, Kenya’s social health score also exceeded the global average, with a score of 63.9 points compared to the worldwide figure of 62.9.
The eighth annual 360° Global Well-Being Survey Kenya Report encompassed insights from 11,922 respondents aged 18-65 years across key markets worldwide.