Not A Red Card Ambassador & former Olympian Rebecca Adlington OBE will draw burnout-related parallels between sport and business at REBA’s Employee Wellbeing Congress

Legal & General’s Not A Red Card (NARC) Ambassador and two-time Olympic gold swimming champion Rebecca Adlington OBE will focus on burnout at this year’s REBA Employee Wellbeing Congress. This comes in response to reports that mass homeworking is leading to a new culture of “e-presenteeism”, whereby employees feel obliged to be online as much as possible, even outside of work hours and when they are feeling unwell.

Rebecca commented: “There are clear parallels here with the world of sport. Many Olympians and elite athletes experience burnout. They try to ramp up efforts when they are just not seeing results, training harder and longer. They compete more. They seek out more coaching. All of which can end up being counterproductive and affect their mental health. The only way out of it is to let go of any excessively high expectations and demands for achieving certain standards.”

Burnout was added last year by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to the international classification of diseases as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ which results from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been managed effectively.1

 A survey by LinkedIn and the Mental Health Foundation, carried out mid lockdown, found that three quarters (75%) of HR leaders believe the risk of employee burnout is increased potentially as a result of a new culture of ‘e-presenteeism’.2


While burnout isn’t a medical condition as such, there’s the risk that it could lead to illness, such as depression.3 Consequently, employers need to be alert and help prevent this happening through a combination of surveys and mood trackers, cultural practices – and better communication of existing benefits to ensure improved engagement and usage of mental health support services included as part of group income protection, for instance.

Rebecca Adlington OBE will also be speaking at the 2020 NARC Forum & Awards, which will take place – virtually this year – on Wednesday 4th November. This event will look at workplace mental health insights and provide practical takeaways on how business and their employees can be well, get better and be supported.

Vanessa Sallows, Claims and Governance Director at Legal & General Insurance