Studies: Remote Work Boosts Mental Health, Erodes Work-Life Balance

Surveys show that most Americans are happy working from home and hope that this could be the new normal even when the pandemic is over.

A survey by FlexJobs conducted at the end of August found that 66% of U.S. workers said they would prefer to continue to work remotely even after the pandemic and 48% were satisfied with the balance they’ve achieved between their work and home life.

An IBM poll conducted in May and early June indicated that 81% of respondents wanted to continue working remotely at least some of the time and 61% said they would like working remote to be permanent.

These figures show that Americans like working from home and this satisfaction has prompted companies to continue remote employment indefinitely. According to a survey conducted by KPMG, 8 out of 10 Americans who transitioned from an office to working remotely said that their teams adapted well and 7 out of 10 said they are actually collaborating better.

“We’ve proven we can be very effective and productive in virtual work environments,” said KPMG CEO Paul Knopp. The survey suggested that even if a vaccine were to be approved tomorrow, the shift toward virtual work space and digital transformation is here to stay. “This is a long-term trend. It’s here to stay,” Knopp confirmed. Facebook has announced that most of its employees are allowed to work at home through the end of 2020, according to CNBC.

According to Business Insider, the downside of working remotely is that employees are working longer and harder. Microsoft and Business Facilities conducted surveys that found U.S working hours have increased significantly during the pandemic. Business Facilities found people are working an average of two hours longer, increasing the average workday by 40%. Industry experts said that instead of spending time commuting, remote workers are at their desks earlier.

The Microsoft poll revealed that employees typically worked through “lunch breaks and well into the night,” according to Business Insider. Their analysis showed that messaging after 6 p.m. skyrocketed 52% during the pandemic.

Some studies have also found that remote workers are already feeling burnout. Consulting firm Eagle Hill reported that 45% of those who are feeling overwhelmed cite increased workload as the cause, while 35% said that they were having difficulty achieving a work-life balance, according to Business Insider.

Experts at say that it’s often hard for remote workers to draw the line between work and home life.

“It’s too easy to get involved into your work stuff after office hours, because your work is in your home,” they point out. “You have to set time limits when you work at home and set clear boundaries — with yourself and with your family.” To do this, stop working when the office time ends to allow your batteries to recharge, so that you can be more productive the next day.

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