Over one in three (36%) UK workers believe burnout is an inevitable part of their career, according to new data based on 2,000 UK knowledge workers. The figure, which rises to 41% of managers was noted by UK workers as a natural part of career progression by those who had experienced it.  

UK employees are feeling isolated at home and they’re struggling to balance priorities and establish clear boundaries. 43% feel more isolated when working remotely and 42% say that they don’t have a clear start or finish time to their working day  – there’s a need to implement consistent guidelines and processes. UK employees also waste 6 working weeks each year on a combination of duplicated work and unnecessary meetings.

The study revealed that 62% of UK workers experienced burnout at least once in the past 12 months, with one in five (21%) experiencing it consistently – 4 or more times in 2021. 

Women experienced burnout more than men (67% of women vs  58% of men). And younger workers experienced it significantly more than older workers. 72% of workers between the ages of 16-38, compared to 56% of those between 39-64.

The Anatomy of Work Index study was conducted by Asana and GWI to assess the behaviours and attitudes of over 10,000 global knowledge workers including 2,000 in the UK.  The study noted that UK employees are  thriving in certain areas as a result of remote work including focus time and greater flexibility. Time spent on the skilled work that UK workers were hired to do is up (32% vs 27% last year) and UK workers are also missing less deadlines than a year ago (13% vs 21%).

However, 56% multitask through virtual meetings, over half (55%) are checking their email outside of work.

Simon O’Kane, Head of International at Asana comments: “The perception that burnout is an inevitable part of career success suggests that there may be a trend of championing overwork in some UK companies. What’s needed is both a shift in attitude and granular changes to how work is completed up, down and across the organisation. It’s vital that leaders work harder to nip these issues in the bud. If businesses don’t take action, they risk workers falling into a cycle of exhaustion, poor performance, and low morale.”

Other UK findings include

  • Time is still being wasted at work: 
    • 36% of UK knowledge workers spend more time on email compared to 12 months ago
    • 48% spend more time on video calls compared to 12 months ago
    • 134 hours were spent in unnecessary meetings/calls by UK knowledge workers in 2021
    • 45% of UK knowledge workers have experienced both imposter syndrome and burnout.
    • 107 hours were spent on duplicated work in by UK knowledge workers in 2021


  • Generally, with the exception of skilled work and big meetings, UK knowledge workers prefer the collaborative nature of working in an office. 
    • UK workers spent the least amount of time in the office of all markets last year – only 18 hours a week. They ideally want to be spending more time at home (21 hours) than in the office (16 hours) based on a 39 hour week, indicating hybrid working is here to stay. 
    • The majority of UK workers prioritise the office over remote work for  one to one meetings (43%), onboarding (41%) and training (41%) 
    • 51% of UK knowledge workers say it’s easier for them to concentrate while working remotely.

About Asana

Asana helps teams orchestrate their work, from small projects to strategic initiatives. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Asana has more than 119,000 paying customers and millions of free organizations across 190 countries. Global customers such as Amazon, Affirm, Japan Airlines, and Sky rely on Asana to manage everything from company objectives to digital transformation to product launches and marketing campaigns. For more information, visit www.asana.com.


Research Methodology

In September 2021 quantitative research was conducted by GWI on behalf of Asana, to understand how people spend time at work. Asana and Global Web Index co-designed the questionnaire and surveyed the behaviors and attitudes of 10,624 knowledge workers across Australia, France, Germany; Japan; Singapore; the U.K., and the U.S, including 2,009 workers in the UK.