During this pandemic, many companies have decided to allow employees to work from home. Now stirs the question of whether we should continue the option to work at home or go back to working in person once the pandemic ends.
Employees should return to a work environment after this epidemic.
Employees experience unintentional overworking as well as distractions when working from home. Araceli Badon, a data and analytics manager at Kaiser Permanente, expresses that she gets distracted when others talk to her while working at home.
“When I am distracted, I have to take time to refresh my memory to see where I left off in the work I was doing,” Badon explains. “This causes me to take longer to finish a specific task.”
She explains that she often catches herself overworking when at home.
“I sometimes tend to overwork because I log on early and stay online way past when I would normally leave the office, so it is a little harder to set boundaries on the schedule,” Badon says.
Evidence shows that working from home will also minimize a connection between coworkers, leading many to become more isolated. A report by Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work found that 40% of people claim the biggest change of working from home is how they communicate and collaborate with their coworkers, while 20-22% said the location and work hours were the biggest changes.
Research shows that remote working can cause mental health issues such as depression and anxiety due to a lack of interaction and socialization. In February 2021, a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation focused on the impact COVID-19 had on mental health. The results showed an increase in these mental disorders from 2019. The results showed that four in 10 adults felt symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.
“I miss interacting with other people,” Badon expresses. “Sometimes, it’s much easier to talk in person to discuss projects and solve problems at work.”
Although working from home may be beneficial for the environment due to fewer cars on the road, we have to consider the mental health and well-being of employees.
Returning straight to work after COVID-19 may be hard for employees to get used to, so a transition, like slowly decreasing the number of stay-home days, would be an effective and safe way to bring workers back into the swing of things.
Nirmita Panchal, Rabah Kamal. “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and
Substance Use – Issue Brief – 9440-03.” KFF, 20 July 2021, https://www.kff.org/report-section/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use-issue-brief/.
2021 State of Remote Work, https://buffer.com/2021-state-of-remote-work.