Although they are lucky enough to still have jobs, many employees working remotely in the age of COVID-19 are facing anxieties.
“Working from home can alleviate some stresses, such as less commuting time and fewer expenses for commuting, clothes, and even childcare, but employees are trying to juggle too many roles at once,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “More and more workers are burning out the longer the pandemic goes on. They are trying to remain productive employees while also acting as caregivers and their children’s teachers at the same time.”
“And, of course, they are also worried about keeping themselves and their loved ones healthy while facing the threat of a potentially deadly virus,” he added.
Not only has the physical workspace changed drastically for stay-at-home workers, the typical workday has as well. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently reported the length of the average workday has increased 48.5 minutes from pre-pandemic levels. This is according to a study of 3.1 million people at more than 21,000 companies in 16 cities in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.
The study, which looked at an eight-week period before COVID-19 and then again during the pandemic, also reported an increase in the number of emails sent each day (1.4 more per day), the number of meetings per person (+12.9%), and the number of attendees per meeting (+13.5%). The average length of meetings, however, has actually decreased (-20.1%).
Managers are stressed from having to turn a profit while leading teams from afar. Despite being distanced, they still need to create and execute new initiatives, deal with personnel issues, and create new products during an economic downturn.
“People are not taking time to recharge – many are forgoing vacations. Many fear the next round of layoffs may include them. People may be questioning their value within the organization. Employers of all sizes have cut jobs and salaries because of revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Challenger. “The productivity of companies and the health of employees are threatened.”