The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world forever. Nearly every task imaginable has required safety reconsiderations – grocery shopping, exercising, visiting friends and family, traveling, and of course, working.
Many employers have adjusted to the pandemic by allowing their workforce to work from home (WFH) to mitigate viral transmission and protect employees. However, extensive isolation and other factors, some general and some unique to WFH employees, have created cause for concern surrounding mental health.
How Big is the Work from Home Population?
Prior to the pandemic, only 6% of the workforce worked from home full time.1 Currently, between 24-42% of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time.1-3
What Stressors Do Remote Workers Face?
There are a wide range of stressors stemming from this pandemic that impact virtually everyone. In addition to direct fears surrounding the coronavirus, people across the nation must deal with extensive social isolation and disruption to family and support systems – including the loss of loved ones, as well as financial and long-term economic worries, and general uncertainty.
However, specific to WFH populations, employees may face other unique stressors. Many employees with children face additional caretaking responsibilities, with 50% of parents agreeing that it is difficult to work from home without interruption.4 Furthermore, suboptimal workplaces can lead to decreased mental wellbeing,5 and an estimated 78% of WFH workers don’t have a dedicated workspace.6
Most notably, workers face difficulty differentiating their work life from their home life when working from home.
Trends Contributing to Stress Among WFH Employees
The following trends have been noted among WFH employees:
- These workers spend an extra 32-49 minutes working per day7-8
- 69% experience burnout symptoms9
- 59% take less paid time off (PTO)9
- 37% feel isolated and concerned about their performance10
- 36% said their stress levels increased10