R

emote work or the hybrid workforce model is possibly here to stay. Especially for tech companies which saw a minor difference in productivity after going widely remote, yet this allows them to cut costs on office spaces and move a fraction of it to better equipment for their employees.

Other industries that had less experience with combining remote with stationary workers can be also tempted to introduce hybrid workforce models long-term after seeing higher productivity numbers or acceptable loses. That is art, entertainment, recreation, administrative support, finance, scientific and technical services, and real estate.

The innovative tech and startup industries led with innovative approach to employee well-being but if we can learn from their example–the amount of unsatisfied and remote workers is alarming.

The Majority of Remote Workers Feels Burned Out

An anonymous workplace chat app called Blind surveyed 3,921 users from companies such as Oracle, Apple, PayPal, Lyft, Amazon, Facebook, and IBM. The outcome, “State of Burnout 2020”, released in March, is eye-opening–61% of working professionals are burned out.

The most common reasons for that situation are stated as unmanageable workload, and insufficient rewards, lack of control over work.

The highest burnout rate per role:
  • Marketing and Communications (74.8%)
  • Finance and Accounting (66.7%)
  • Sales/Support (64.8%)

Another survey carried out by Blind on employees from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook indicate that even 68% of employees feel more burned out now, compared to working at an office.

There are other surveys and studies and surveys that lead to the same conclusions–working remotely long-term is exhausting.

Freelancers Have Gone Through This Long Before

I remember leading a job interview for a big tech startup. It was for the position of a content writer and the person interviewed had a long freelance experience. I have asked her why would she want to join a full-time position and the response was something along the lines of loneliness and feeling exhausted from the hustle.

You see, doing gigs adds the struggle of looking for clients but it also involves working from home. And working from home leads to questionable work-life balance and doing long hours. Not everyone is assertive and disciplined enough to set rules and habits that help them separate the private life from work.

The self-discipline is even more critical here, as although you’re not wasting time on commuting, postponing tasks, changing priorities, and falling to distraction can end up with the time flying and working at night.

To freelancers, this situation is mostly rewarded by the freedom of not having only one employer and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. This is a lifestyle that so many people around their 30s dream of.

Dreaming is alright if these are your dreams. People who get full-time jobs are more attracted by the stability of their employment and a good work-life balance. They are not necessarily dreaming about working from anywhere, especially if it’s so hard to draw a line between where the work starts and where does it end. This is something that previously has been done by simply entering or leaving the office.

Office environment is also where employees thrive socially. All-day video calls are not the same as quick chats over the water dispenser. This leads to loneliness that also contributes to this extreme burnout rate.

What Should Managers Do?

The problem of having to work remotely long hours has been solved by some managers well, even without a decent experience. It’s all about the approach and managing expectations of both the teams and their managers, unless we ever get back to how it used to be.

This is also why hybrid workforce models thrive where the teams working remotely are rotating and don’t require being separated at all times.

All in all, this situation won’t solve itself anytime soon and since we get to care more and more about our employees' mental and physical health–let’s do just that, starting with meaningful conversations before a major burnout comes your way.

Posted 
Oct 23, 2020
 in 
Employee Wellbeing
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