The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a quick transition from the office to our homes.
Two years into the pandemic, we are understanding the impact of remote work on mental wellbeing. Although it was a welcome change for some, studies show working 100% remotely is not the dream for everybody.
Microsoft’s 2022 New Future of Work Report showed that remote work can have mixed effects on wellbeing. The research concluded that “work-life balance and job autonomy can improve job satisfaction with remote work, but employees may feel socially isolated, guilty and try to overcompensate.”
So, does remote working fuel burnout in employees?
Why remote work is beginning to raise questions
The criticism about fully remote work revolves around a few evident reasons; isolation, working longer hours, and an inability to disconnect work and home life from each other. Of course, these issues factor into the increase in employee burnout but working from home isn’t the only culprit.
Even though things are returning to normal, we are still dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic. During the first year of the pandemic, most people couldn’t socialize with their friends and family – let alone their coworkers. However, people will experience less social isolation as they start to live normally.
In addition, a May 2021 survey by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) showed that only one in five employees said their employer had offered additional mental health services since the start of the pandemic – down from 35%. This means employees have less access to sources that can alleviate burnout.
There’s a key fact to consider when criticizing remote working. It affects different groups of people in different ways.
Young, entry-level employees
This is caused by the lack of foundation and experience Gen Zers have at the early stages of their career. While remote work may benefit people with families, Gen Z needs more guidance and to build professional connections at their workplace when they are just starting.
However, Gen Z may change their opinion about remote work when they develop a professional network and enough experience, and as new responsibilities such as having a family or caring for an elderly parent emerge.
Employees with families
Parents, especially of young children, report positive feedback about remote work.
Remote work has eradicated commuting, giving families the flexibility to move to safer, greener neighborhoods outside of cities. Parents who work from home have much more time to care for their children and their household.
Remote work is better suited to parents’ needs; it also has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Employees with disabilities
Remote work also makes inclusion easier, allowing more employees with disabilities to apply for jobs they normally wouldn’t.
The disability community has asked for remote working options for years, but it only became possible after the general public required it. People with disabilities have more job opportunities and freedom with remote work.
Making remote working work
Although most people benefited from saving time on their commute, a Stanford University study showed they allocated ”about a third of their old commuting time slot to their primary job.” The rest of the time was spent on household chores or leisure.
In order to prevent increasing levels of stress and anxiety or burnout, employers need to level the new flexible working culture by providing options. There is no one-size fits all solution, but the ideal workplace balances employees’ social needs and personal commitments.
Employees also increasingly demand more mental health support. The latter is a key player that can help raise productivity and job satisfaction levels.
Dealing with stress and burnout
Stress management is not a built-in skill for most people. Years of neglecting workplace stress and anxiety symptoms can lead to burnout and health problems.
White River Manor has years of experience in burnout and stress treatment, helping patients using intensive therapy, medical management, a thorough psychiatric assessment, and excellent healthy eating and exercise options.