Burnout: The next great security threat at work

Burnout: The next great security threat at work

Nick Summers by Nick Summers on

Many companies feel like they’ve successfully pivoted to remote and hybrid work. Team members have learned the tools and processes required to be successful outside the office, and IT departments have adjusted their security rules and policies accordingly.

But now, nearly two years into the pandemic, another cybersecurity threat has emerged: employee burnout.

Work-related exhaustion isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s been amplified by Covid-19. And when it’s left unaddressed, burnout can put companies at risk because it influences employees' habits and decision making.

To understand the issue, 1Password surveyed 2,500 adults in the U.S. and Canada who are in full-time employment and spend most of their working hours in front of a computer. It’s the focus of our first annual State of Access study, which explores the latest security threats, how workers feel about them, and what businesses should do to protect themselves.

Our key findings

  • 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.

Read the full report

If you want to learn more about burnout and its growing impact on cybersecurity, check out the full report. It goes into greater detail about workers' password choices, their use of shadow IT, and other potential risk factors at work, such as allowing friends and family to use a company-provided device.

What’s the solution?

Our first State of Access study considers how technology, and specifically automation, could make it easier for workers to follow company rules and policies. It also asks what employees are looking for when they turn to unauthorized software.

But these sections barely scratch the surface of the burnout problem. We hope our survey encourages companies to reflect on the wellness of their employees and the steps they could take to make everyone feel happier and healthier. That, in turn, will lead to teams that are not only productive and energized, but working together to keep your business secure.

Not sure where to begin? 1Password CEO Jeff Shiner and CTO Pedro Canahuati will be discussing our latest study and what businesses can do about burnout in a virtual fireside chat on December 8th at 2PM ET/11AM PT.

We hope to see you there.

Content Marketing Manager

Nick Summers - Content Marketing Manager Nick Summers - Content Marketing Manager

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