How is your work community doing? A new tool for identifying job burnout

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health is launching a new tool that can be used to map the prevalence of job burnout in the workplace. The job burnout traffic lights for work communities survey provides feedback to both individual respondents and work communities.
Havainnekuva työuupumuksen liikennevalomallista.

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health media release 7 May 2024

The job burnout traffic lights for work communities survey can be used to determine the frequency and severity of job burnout symptoms at the workplace. The free and easy-to-use tool is a new addition to the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health's Mental Health Toolkit. 

According to the How is Finland doing? study, about a quarter of the population has an increased risk of job burnout or is already likely to suffer from it. There has been a slight increase since the time before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Job burnout is a common and persistent phenomenon. It can be felt in workplaces while it remains hidden. Job burnout does not occur suddenly, but it can still go undetected. The tool offers one way to tackle the issue," says Research Professor Jari Hakanen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.  

Tool based on a validated survey method 

The tool includes 12 questions related to chronic fatigue, mental distancing from work and impairment of cognitive function and emotional control. These are the main symptoms of job burnout.

The survey is based on the Burnout Assessment Tool (BAT), which allows us to determine more accurately and reliably whether the job burnout situation is good if the risk has increased and job burnout is likely. The survey and the job burnout traffic light model produced on the basis of the survey have been validated in Finnish conditions.  

Improved working conditions reduce job burnout  

Based on the results provided by the tool, it is possible to develop working conditions to reduce and prevent job burnout. The tool can be used, for example, as part of annual monitoring or to follow up on changes or actions taken. The tool also provides work communities with benchmark information that can be used to compare the work community's results to the general population. 

Individual respondents are provided with personal feedback on the survey, as well as tips and tools for their own situation. It is not possible to identify individual respondents from the overall result of the work community. 

“Job burnout is still often seen as an individual situation, even though it often results from shared working conditions, such as poorly organised work, role conflicts and a lack of balancing resources,” says Jari Hakanen.  

Poor working conditions lead to job burnout, which can also affect the ability to cope with other aspects of life. 

"If the workplace identifies challenges in the work community based on the survey and starts to address them, it will of course take time and effort. However, these efforts pay for themselves compared to not doing anything. The more serious the job burnout situation becomes, the more corrective measures are required," says Janne Kaltiainen, Specialist Researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.  

Learn more   

Mental Health Toolkit project  

The Mental Health Toolkit project is part of Finland's Sustainable Growth Programme. 

Additional information

  • Jari Hakanen, Research Professor, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, jari.hakanen [at] (jari[dot]hakanen[at]ttl[dot]fi), +358 (0)40 562 5433
  • Janne Kaltiainen, Specialist Researcher, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health janne.kaltiainen [at] (janne[dot]kaltiainen[at]ttl[dot]fi,), tel. +358 (0)50 476 5980  

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