How American Workers Feel About Working from Home, Two Years In
Meet the Mental Health Experts
It’s been over two years since the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of workers home in March 2020. Now, what was thought to be a temporary experience has become the new status quo—in fall 2021, 45% of Americans were working from home either part-time or full-time.
While remote work has offered new benefits for some employees, such as a more relaxed dress code and less money spent on transportation, many workers have felt the downsides of a more isolated work environment. With topics like employee burnout, job switching, and work/life balance in the news, the team at Go.Verizon.com decided to see how average working-from-home Americans feel about the remote work experience.
After the team surveyed 1,000 Americans 18-and-over who have worked from home at some point in the past two years, found that working from home has had a sizable impact on the mental health of many workers.
Diane Bigler, a National Mental Health and Corporate Trainer, suggests that there is a larger cultural explanation for why employees are feeling burned out. She describes the current culture as one where “overperforming is celebrated, and resting, relaxation and self-care are discounted. It is inevitable that people who are consistently burned out will feel more depressed, anxious, and stressed if their burnout is not addressed or mitigated. In these cases, not only does the employee pay the price, but the company does as well.”
Dipal Shah, a Mind Reprogramming Expert, offers some reasoning behind why over half of respondents are happy to continue working from home: “The benefits for those who are working from home is saving commute time, not having to dress up/do makeup and hair, limited travel, being available when children come home from school, and having independence with their schedule.”
Claudia Grace, a certified Executive & Corporate Wellness Coach, has advice for employers on how to make their workers feel supported. “Companies must change their antiquated systems by offering successful Employee Wellness Programs and listening to what their employees need: more flexible work hours, mental health days, and a culture of well-being,” Grace says. “Most employees feel their companies are not offering proper access and support to combat burnout, stress, and remove the stigma of mental health where they work.”
Dr. Kennette Thigpen Harris, a Corporate Well-being Consultant, suggests that taking scheduled breaks from work isn’t a bad thing. “It’s important to create healthy habits while working from home,” Dr. Thigpen says. “Three things to keep in mind are to create routines, take breaks, and set boundaries. Routines help to create a life-work balance. Breaks are intentional time to pause, reset, and return with greater energy. Boundaries assist in protecting your physical, emotional, and mental health while strengthening workplace culture.”
- Despite the work/life balance complications that can come with working from home, 82% of respondents prefer WFH to working in-office.
- 55% of respondents have taken at least one mental health day in the past two years, though 20% say it’s not an option at their place of employment
- 57% of respondents have cried at work in the past two years, and of that 57%, 49% reported to have cried many times.
- 45% of respondents have seen a mental health professional in the past two years.
- Overall, many respondents appreciate the perks of WFH. 51% of respondents like working from home because of the flexibility it offers, 15% feel less micromanaged at home, and 15% appreciate being able to spend more time with family.
Mental Health Experts
Special thanks to our expert contributors for providing their thoughts on our survey findings:
Dipal Shah is a Mind Reprogramming Expert who runs a wellness company from her home, and frequently works with business executives around the globe regarding chronic stress and burnout. You can find out more about her services by visiting her website.
Claudia Grace is a certified Executive & Corporate Wellness Coach. You can find out more about her services by visiting her website.
Dr. Kennette Thigpen Harris is a Corporate Well-being Consultant and Speaker. You can find out more about her services by visiting her website.
Diane Bigler, LCSW, LSCSW, is a National Mental Health and Corporate Trainer. You can find out more about her services at her website.
Go.Verizon.com is an authorized premium partner of Verizon.
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