According to a World Economic Forum-Ipsos survey, stress, anxiety, and loneliness have increased among working people. More than half of working adults experienced anxiety relating to their job security and stress due to changes in their working patterns.
Among those able to work from home, family pressures, finding a work-life balance, and feelings of loneliness and isolation were cited as increasing as the pandemic disrupted lives and interrupted long-established practices.
While for some, there are upsides to working from homes, such as a reduced commute and more personal time, there are also limitations. And much of the global workforce has little or no opportunity to work remotely, with jobs requiring machinery or person-to-person contact.
More than half of the people surveyed between 20 November and 4 December worked from home, while 32 percent worked longer hours, 32 percent worked shorter hours, 30 percent took a leave of absence and 15 percent left their job.
Others reported falling productivity, working very early in the morning or very late at night, and difficulties in getting work done due to inadequate home office set-up.
The report also showed variations from country to country. While around half of the respondents said they felt lonely when working remotely, this varied from 75 percent in Turkey to just 24 percent in Japan. Most countries showed more than 40% of homeworkers feeling isolated.
And the findings showed the pandemic is taking its toll on some more than others, with people under age 35, business owners, decision-makers, lower-income workers, and women more prone to reporting negative effects on their well-being.
The researchers, including Jo-An Atkinson, Head of Systems Modelling and Simulation, University of Sydney and Cameron Fox, Project Specialist, Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare at the Forum shared that, “The projected cumulative cost of lost productivity associated with psychological distress, hospitalizations and suicide over the period 2020-2025 is estimated at $114 BN.”