Many of you, facing various issues, have contacted Generation 2004 throughout the pandemic. The vast majority of the difficulties raised relate to having difficulties to disconnect (also called Zoom fatigue) or having to be reachable all the time. Colleagues are also working additional hours, working late into the evening and during the weekends: e.g. because the workload has substantially increased in some directorates-general (those working on high-priority files, such as EU Green Deal, Recovery Resilience Facility (RRF), Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)), or because of shortages of staff (those who leave not being replaced), or even just because it is difficult to decline that meeting or to reject that call from a colleague or superior. Additionally, external media outlets have reported that some directorates-general (DGs) face extreme workload related to priority files, which puts colleagues at risk of burnout. The situation might even more aggravate when we will move to the “New normal”.
Generation 2004 has regularly addressed these issues including the emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion suffered by colleagues due to excessive and prolonged stress (‘burnout’) in many social dialogue meetings with DG Human Resources and Security, which confirmed that there has indeed been a rise in the reporting of such cases compared to pre-pandemic times. We believe that this matter should be taken more seriously, properly analysed and addressed.
Consequently, Generation 2004 has decided to launch a survey to analyse the situation of digital overload and the corresponding risks of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion due to excessive and prolonged stress (‘burnout’) in combination with this prolonged time of isolation and limited physical activities, this will run until September 2021 (update 18.02.2022, this survey is still ongoing: please add your voice!).
Therefore, we would like to have a better idea about your personal situation to evaluate whether there is a systemic problem (e.g. is it the whole unit, directorate or directorate-general?). In this context, Generation 2004 invites you to participate in a survey with the following goals:
- assess your current workload,
- analyse your situation regarding digital overload (linked to constant connectedness)
- assess whether you are at risk of burnout.
Generation 2004 takes matters related to health and well-being very seriously and aims to identify, and have the administration address, systemic problems. Once the results are analysed, we will communicate the findings to Gertrud Ingestad, Director-General of DG Human Resources and Security and David Mueller (Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Hahn), directors general of the relevant DGs and to all staff.
Generation 2004 is here to support you, do not hesitate to contact us, whether you need help with an issue or even just to share your thoughts.
The Generation 2004 team
Additional information and support is available, please don’t suffer in silence!
- HR TELECARE phone line
- Helping Hands service on the Small Ads service on My IntraComm
- Avoiding surprises with JSIS when choosing a psychotherapist: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, JSIS facilitates access to psychological support, by exceptionally and temporarily removing the requirement to request prior authorisation for the first 5 sessions.
- Support group for EU staff
- remote psychological support service (Medical Service, Ispra)
- Community Help Service (Belgium)
- Mental health and well-being (Luxembourg)
- Befrienders Worldwide
- It is also possible to approach your own family doctor/general practitioner (GP)