Research shows that the home office affects the mental health of workers
A study carried out by Workana, a platform for freelance workers, shows that the impact of the home office on the mental health of professionals may have been negative. Interviewing 2,810 workers from South, North, Central America and Europe, the company reached worrying conclusions about mental health in the home office: 43.7% of the participants declared that working from home resulted in psychological impacts.
This problem also seems to impact women more intensely than men. In total, 28% of participants reported anxiety problems, while among men, this rate was only 8.33%. They also say that since remote work began, they have had to use psychological services, such as therapy sessions, more often.
Women also seem to have more difficulty maintaining concentration during remote work, with 24% of respondents explaining the problem. Among men, only 17.71% reported the same difficulties. One of the main effects of this problem, according to the interviewees, is the increase in the time needed to perform relatively simple tasks.
Research conducted by scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry (IPq) of the Hospital das Clínicas (HC) of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (FMUSP) also corroborates this finding. Data collected by the study – which heard more than 3,000 people – show that women accounted for 40.5% of symptoms of depression, 34.9% of anxiety and 37.3% of stress.
Stress and home office: which are the real culprits?
Experts are aware that, with such a chaotic and uncertain world scenario caused by the pandemic, it is difficult to attribute the entire burden of the problem to the home office. They also state that the temporary nature of remote work, without the preparation of an adequate structure for the separation of domestic and professional life, may have contributed to the deterioration of mental health in this period.
Information found by the study by the University of São Paulo (USP) also shows that the double shift – a phenomenon that affects, above all, women – also has a great impact on the emotional weight of remote work. “Although the research has not detailed the reasons that led women to have greater psychological suffering, the medical literature has shown that they are the ones who have the greatest impact due to the social conditions in which they live. The pandemic has only exacerbated this situation”, explains Antônio de Pádua. Serafim, the neuropsychologist responsible for conducting the research.
How to improve mental health at home office?
A survey carried out by the Center for Studies in Health Planning and Management at FGV cross-referenced survey data with a questionnaire from the World Health Organization (WHO), with the objective of measuring people’s mental health status. In total, almost half of the participants achieved a score of 13, much lower than what the WHO indicates as a good level of well-being.
Despite the preliminary nature of research on the impact of mental health on remote work, experts point out that workers who want to improve their mental health at home office should use mental health services to ensure extra support during this difficult time and seek to establish a health professional who values a humanized relationship.