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Mental, physical exhaustion common among Australian workers

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read
Mental Physical Exhaustion Common Among Australian Workers

Burnout and exhaustion are becoming major issues for workers across Australia as job demands and employer expectations continue to push employees to their limit.

The recently published TELUS Mental Health Index examines the mental health state of employed workers across Australia. It has shown that almost half (47 per cent) of workers feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of their working day.

Burnout was a common theme throughout the research, as workers cited that an overload of work is directly leading to burnout (27 per cent). This was followed by too many personal demands (20 per cent) and a lack of recognition (12 per cent) and support for the work they do (9 per cent).


Jamie MacLennan, senior vice president and managing director of TELUS Health, said: “Burnout and a lack of wellbeing are critical issues affecting our workforce today. Many employees, especially younger ones, are struggling with overwhelming workloads that leave them mentally and physically exhausted. This relentless stress not only impacts their mental health but also significantly reduces productivity.”

According to the index, younger workers are more likely to be burnt out, exhausted, and more likely to have fear around the impending AI implementation throughout workplaces across Australia, specifically around their job security.

Although there is widespread optimism around AI and its benefits, with nearly one-third (30 per cent) believing that AI will have a positive impact on the industry they work in, 15 per cent of workers are considering retirement because of the use of AI tools in their workplace.

“There is no question AI’s advancement will bring significant benefits, potentially as pivotal as the industrial or internet age,” Paula Allen, global leader of research and client insights at TELUS Health, said.

“Organisations have the opportunity to engage employees in this evolution by ensuring that AI tools and training are readily accessible to employees, and enabling them to explore the technology firsthand so they can discover the ways it benefits them in their own work. The best way to implement change is to engage people from the start, empowering them to grasp the possibilities and contribute valuable insights,” Allen said.

A lack of an employee assistance program (EAP) and a lack of knowledge about their organisation’s EAP were also focal points of the index that many employees expressed. Close to one-third (33 per cent) of workers reported that their employer does not offer an EAP, and a further 22 per cent were unsure.

“Moreover, there is a troubling lack of awareness and accessibility to mental health support, with many workers being unsure where to seek help,” MacLennan said.

As mental health and wellbeing continues to be a pillar throughout workplaces across Australia, clarity and understanding needs to be provided for employees who wish to seek mental health support. Clear communication lines and empathy between a worker and their employer can also work wonders for alleviating pressure and burnout, so communication is a must-have for a cohesive workplace.



Employees experience burnout when their physical or emotional reserves are depleted. Usually, persistent tension or dissatisfaction causes this to happen. The workplace atmosphere might occasionally be the reason. Workplace stress, a lack of resources and support, and aggressive deadlines can all cause burnout.

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.