Employee burnout is a growing security risk in the workplace

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1password Hero Joe (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A recent study sheds light on how burnout affects security in the workplace.
  • 20% of polled burned-out workers feel that security policies "aren't worth the hassle."
  • Many employees that experience burnout repeat the same passwords across accounts.

While work can cause exhaustion in any environment, the unique circumstances of the global pandemic can amplify employee burnout. According to a recent study by 1Password, burned-out employees are more likely to ignore security policies issued by companies, such as using different passwords across accounts.

The survey polled 2,500 full-time employees in the United States and Canada that spend most of their working hours at a computer.

A main takeaway from the study is that overworked employees are more likely to feel security policies "aren't worth the effort." Similarly, 12% of respondents that claimed to be fatigued use the same password or a small group of passwords across work accounts. In contrast, only 7% of polled participants that did not claim to be burned out acted the same way.

Below are the key findings of the study:

  • Burnout is a huge problem across the U.S. and Canada. 80% of office workers and 84% of security specialists told us they're feeling burned out.
  • Burnout is tied to poor security habits. 20% of burned-out workers feel their company's security policies "aren't worth the hassle," compared to 7% of workers who aren't burned out.
  • Burnout impacts people's password choices. 12% of burned-out respondents use the same password or just a few different passwords for everything at work, compared to 7% of workers who aren't feeling mentally or physically exhausted.
  • Burned-out workers are more likely to use shadow IT. Almost half (48%) of burned-out employees told us they were creating, downloading or using software at work that hadn't been approved by their company's IT department.
  • Burnout, the great resignation, and security habits are all connected. Employees who are ready to resign are more likely to feel that convenience is more important than security at work.
  • Ready-to-resign workers use more shadow IT. 49% of workers looking to switch jobs are using unapproved software, compared with 34% of those who are happy in their current job.

The full report goes into more depth regarding security practices and how they're affected by burnout.

Using the best password managers and best password generators may help alleviate some stress surrounding passwords in the workplace, though they won't address the root cause of employee exhaustion.

It's worth noting that this security report is provided by 1Password, which sells security subs.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.