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Amidst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions that have turned the world upside down in recent years, entrepreneurs, CEOs, startups, SMEs, and traditional companies are increasingly seeking for more information and advice about mental health. Lately, many media outlets and companies are talking about burnout syndrome or «burnt worker».

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized it as a disease, but it was only this year that the new International Classification of Diseases came into force, where it is described as a syndrome «resulting from chronic stress in the workplace that has not been successfully handled».

In simple words, burnout or «burned head syndrome» is the accumulation of chronic and prolonged stress at work. Several factors increase the burnout risk, such as overwork, constantly working against the clock, and loneliness, factors that increased during the pandemic.

Also, remote teams that don’t tend to go offline may be at higher risk (due to overwork, disorganization, and loneliness). Although all of these factors are common in the tech industry, the presence of burnout in technology is not well documented.

This has unleashed a great wave of growth and creation of digital tools honing on mental health with an emphasis on all ranks within companies. Of course, this is the case with Yerbo, a startup that provides a set of tools to help teams stay productive and fight burnout.

What is Digital Burnout

Digital burnout occurs as a result of excessive screen time leading to constant stress in the workplace.

Burnout occurs due to constant exposure to digital devices over a prolonged period of time. This leads to feelings of overwhelming stress from work and working conditions.

Symptoms of digital burnout

The problem of digital burnout, however, specifically refers to.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Decreased interest in work

Digital burnout is becoming an increasingly common problem among employees working in business environments. Symptoms and side effects of digital burnout include:

  • Trouble sleeping or getting restful sleep.
  • Decreased energy, productivity and motivation
  • Constant feelings of work-related stress and anxiety
  • Feelings of disconnection from friends, family and co-workers
  • Social anxiety
  • Reduced efficiency and diminished performance
  • Overwhelming exhaustion
  • Chest pains (some cases).

How to identify digital burnout? It is difficult to diagnose as this problem develops gradually. People usually don’t realize they are burned out until it is too late.

The state of work burnout in technology

Burnout in Tech Industry is tendering to this new hotspot causing anxiety and burnout in Latin America, Yerbo launched a free tool to help tech workers track their well-being, as well as a survey that achieved a high participation with over 100,000 people who responded in the first 2 weeks.

At the same time, the startup researched and collected information about the State of Burnout that is currently taking place in the Tech industry worldwide.

This study is the largest scientific assessment of work burnout in the technology sector today. Among the findings, it was discovered that 2 out of 5 technology professionals are at a high risk of developing emotional exhaustion (one of the main indicators of burnout), and 42% of them want to leave their company within the next 6 months, due to lack of mental well-being.

Lack of mental well-being in technology industry: Burnout in Tech Industry

Additionally, the study found that people who identify themselves as female are at a higher risk of developing burnout than their male co-workers. Women tend to score higher in burnout levels:

  • 69% of women feel exhausted at the end of the day
  • Against 56% of men, which could be due to different family responsibilities.
  • This is in line with previous studies, including a recent Girls in Tech report that found 79% of working moms feel burned out.

The study shows interesting data that all workers in the industry should take into account the most dangerous thing about burnout, which is that many times the worker does not realize that he/she is going through it.

“Others say, ‘I’m fine”, when really they are experiencing burnout. It is very important that the meaning of burnout is not just buzzwords and media headlines; We are talking about the well-being of real people, we need a common definition and understanding to be able to challenge and put an end to this burnout within the organizations”, says Marcos Sponton, CEO at Yerbo.

About Yerbo

Founded in 2020 by Marcos Spontón (after Mercado Libre acquired his previous machine learning company) and his co-founder Francisco Mendes, Yerbo makes mental wellness accessible to software engineering teams of all ages. sizes, and also offers a free personal plan.

In 2021, the startup from Argentina raised an investment round of US$455,000 that proposes to address the mental health of most emerging startups and democratize this sector. The platform currently serves engineers and collaborators from large startups such as NuBank, Gitlab, Despegar, ShipHero, and WillBank.


3 tips to combat digital burnout

The most effective way to combat digital burnout is to unplug and relax. But it’s not that easy.

According to the above. Here are 5 tips to combat digital burnout.

1. Don’t respond immediately

Many people feel the need to stop what they are doing and respond to messages as soon as they arrive. This constant sense of urgency can make people feel overwhelmed and anxious.

The best thing to do in these cases is to set aside certain times of the day to respond to messages and e-mails.

Generally, e-mails and messages are important but not urgent. Most can wait.

2. Disconnect

Has it happened to you that you are with your family, watching a movie or with friends and you still want to use your cell phone? Put it aside, otherwise you’ll burn out immediately.

The most effective way to combat digital burnout is to simply unplug and relax.

3. Set boundaries.

Develop a routine that includes screen time limits and device breaks. This will help you distance yourself from your work and reinforce work-life balance.

The idea is to have a guaranteed hour (or more) a day where you take and/or engage in something other than work.