In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized burnout as an officially diagnosable syndrome that stems from chronic stress in the workplace.
It turns out, the problem is more serious when you look at the 2018 Gallup survey which showed that workplace stress regularly affects almost a quarter of the workforce.
While London, Kuala Lumpur and New York are among the most stressful cities to live in, the African context has always been unofficially dominated by Lagos, Nigeria. A gridlock of 17.5 million people bedeviled by one of the continent’s most dreadful traffic jams on a regular basis impacts heavily on the work-life balance of residents.
The city, which comes in 18th position just after New York, is at such a telling position on the index due to the number of people sleeping fewer than 7 hours a night, for which it gets a score of 9.39/10.
Johannesburg is the biggest African culprit when it comes to employee burnout, on the report, with an overall score of 4.83/10, as opposed to the 6.47 scored by Tokyo, Japan – home to the world’s highest population of stressed out staff. In terms of hours spent in traffic to get to work, the South African city scores 5.06/10.
It is no surprise that Mumbai, India, ranks up in second place with an overall 5.95, but it will sure raise controversy why Nairobi comes before Lagos on the list. It is a 10/10 score when it comes to people residing in the East African city working more than 48 hours. Nairobi ranks 25th in the world.
Lagos, the entrepreneurship hotbed and tent of some of Africa’s most promising tech startups, comes in 55th place on the ranking – an unexpectedly improved position coming right after Vienna, Austria.
The West African city scored 9.27 for people working more than 48 hours and 5.34 in terms hours spent in traffic. Its overall score is 3.4/10. Nairobi and Johannesburg get 4.49 and 4.83 respectively. These three are the only African cities that made the list.
Irrespective of which city is the most stressful for employees in Africa, the main problem should not be ignored.
Ashley Doyle, Staff Writer at Savvy Sleeper, says, “Our research suggests businesses should make addressing some of the factors affecting employee work-life balance a priority. Not only will this ensure staff health and well-being is protected, but it will also help companies continue to recruit and retain top talent.”
She adds: “Cities with reasonable working hours, adequate vacation time and positive sleep patterns not only have more motivated employees but also higher workplace productivity, despite shorter work weeks”.