Covid-19 worries not only factor affecting remote workers’ wellbeing, finds study

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Worries about Covid-19 are affecting wellbeing as employees work from home, but loneliness and having to juggle domestic responsibilities with work are also having an impact.

This is according to research from the University of Exeter Business School and University of Leicester Business School, which was based on data from wellbeing questionnaires and weekly surveys of 835 university employees.

Preliminary results have shown that around 38% of home workers felt anxious most or all of the time while death figures went up during the early stages of the first lockdown, with 8% saying they felt depressed.

Nearly one in five (17%) reported feeling lonely, while 25.9% said that the competing demands of work and domestic duties, including childcare, had taken their toll on their wellbeing.

Other factors found to have had an impact included the handling of the pandemic by the government and employers and job insecurity.

The research team found these factors also hampered employees’ ability to make decisions and concentrate: 15% said they found it hard to make many decisions on their own and 21% could not decide how best to complete their work.

Professor Ilke Inceoglu at the University of Exeter Business School said: “Our research is important in that it adds to the story of Covid but it also enables us to assess the role of location and whether the Covid-19 pandemic factors over and above conventional job design factors, which is indeed not the case.”

Professor Stephen Wood, from the University of Leicester Business School and principal investigator of the study, added: “The pandemic has contributed to short term fluctuations in the wellbeing of employees working at home, but the factors that affect all jobs, the extent of job discretion, potential loneliness of working alone, and job insecurity remain important and will remain so after the pandemic.”

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