Working Parent Burnout

As we enter another year of pandemic chaos, parents are facing, yet again, more uncertainty and disruption around childcare, schooling and vaccine availability. Not surprisingly, it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

A global study by McKinsey & Co has revealed that the ongoing impact of Covid 19 burnout continues to significantly strain the mental health of working parents. (1)

Burnout is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as ‘a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. (2)

Couple that with the responsibilities of caring for children or elder dependants and a world-wide pandemic and it’s inevitable that we are seeing mental health conditions increasing across the globe.

Burnout is seen to have three major dimensions (WHO)(2):

  1. Feelings of energy depletion and or exhaustion
  2. Increased negativity and mental distance from one's job
  3. Reduced productivity and efficiency


All of which impact not only on the individual, but their entire ecosystem i.e. their family unit and workplace. No one goes untouched by this.

The study revealed several major areas of concern for working parents including increased responsibilities at both work and home, a lack of work life balance, increased concerns for safety at work around Covid-19 infection, increased isolation, loss of social support and recent organisational changes having an effect on their jobs (1)

Other findings included:

  • When compared to non-parents, working parents were twice as likely to be worn out at the end of the day and or to think their work insignificant
  • Many people expressing feelings of apathy and fatigue and that they are failing to live up to their own expectations across their multiple social roles
  • 90 percent of working parents were more likely to report that they believe ‘senior management at their workplace considers productivity to be more important than mental health’ (1)


These findings are in line with further research conducted by McKinsey & Co in 2021 that found forty percent of employees to be at least likely to quit their jobs in the next three to six months, with eighteen percent saying their intentions range from likely to almost certain. Australia was one of the 5 countries involved in this research. (3)

Working parents and carers are particularly susceptible due to the additional responsibilities and pressures that come with juggling full or part time work along with caring commitments. Add a pandemic to the mix, and you have the escalating mental issues we are seeing today.

The time for employers to act is now.

What employers can do – promote a family friendly mentally healthy workplace!

Providing Managing Family Wellbeing and Burnout Sessions can help employees and leaders with respite support to put in place solutions to minimise the impact.

Adapting to hybrid working isn’t easy for employees or leaders, so it is important to ensure your organisation is providing learning sessions to help your people implement sustainable flexible work options.

If you’d like to hear more about our Covid-19 webinar series for working families OR if you need advice on how to improve your flexible work, parental leave, domestic violence and other related workplace policies during this time please contact us at




(1) International Classification of Diseases (11th revised volume) ICD-11

(2) Covid-19 and burnout are straining the mental health of employed parents

(3) Why Family Friendly Workplaces are the answer to the ‘Great Resignation’