Mental health and remote working: March and April in numbers

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“…in terms of efficiency, 94% of the sample reported to have lost between one and two hours a day in productivity.”

Undoubtedly, in these last two months of confinement, thousands of workers have had to adapt their day-to-day to the new reality that now not only includes dealing with job challenges, but also doing it at the same time that they perform domestic tasks, take care of children, among others, impacting their mental health in various ways.

According to a study by Human Resource Executive magazine, 69% of surveyed employees (in the US) said that the coronavirus pandemic has been the most stressful situation during their professional careers, even more than during events like 9/11 or the 2008 recession.

Speaking of mental health in numbers, on average 88% of respondents reported having a high level of stress in the past 4 to 6 weeks. Not only that, but in terms of productivity, 94% of those same respondents reported losing between one and two hours a day of productivity. On the other hand, the study “America’s State of Mind Report” also indicates that during the months of March and April, prescriptions for antidepressant, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications increased by 21% vs. February 2020.

Burnout is another issue related to mental health that has increased in these months of confinement. When we talk about burnout, we usually imagine a situation where working days are 12 hours or more, and where you are even working on weekends. Considering that back into the office days there was a transition that marked the end of work on the way back home that allowed us to get psyched for the change of activities, now there is no barrier between personal time and work time, so we end up mixing work time with personal time. 

During the crisis, burnout -also- emerges in another way that experts call “decision fatigue”, which implies an information overload, that comes from the daily news, articles about what you should do in X or Y situation, among others. In addition to this, the fact that we constantly have to make new decisions on what we normally do automatically, such as disinfecting groceries, driving to the supermarket, or even hugging our loved ones, so that our attention is on taking the best decisions that keep ourselves and our families safe.

According to a survey carried out by a consultant in the United States during these weeks of confinement, the main causes of burnout among employees are workloads (45%), trying to balance personal and professional life (35%), and lack of communication (32%).

More than a third of the surveyed employees acknowledged that their company is not taking any action to combat burnout, and only 20% said that their employers were providing them with tools to take care of their physical and mental health.

One of the conclusions of this survey is that in many cases leaders are treating burnout as if it were an issue on a personal level, and not on an organizational level. As a learning of the statistics shown in these first months of confinement, the discussion of how the organizational culture should always be a support for employees, but especially in these times of crisis, is opened; where burnout and diseases such as stress and anxiety are more common than is believed, and end up affecting the productivity and assertiveness of workers.

At Erudit we want to help you taking care of your workers in these challenging times, monitoring their levels of engagement, burn out and friction (without the need of applying a single survey) and finding ways to maintain a healthy and productive team of collaborators.

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