“Don’t leave a remote worker alone” – The survey shows an increase in stress levels
Auntie Solutions Oy
Press release 16.12.2020
A person working remotely must not be left alone in the glow of a computer screen. It is good human resource management when not only efficiency but also employee happiness is monitored. According to a survey by Auntie Solutions, the amount of stress on remote workers has increased towards the end of the year, and at the same time, work efficiency is also on the rise. The combination can lead to burnout. Auntie has concerns whether organizations are willing to raise the issue with their employees.
During the past year, Auntie Solutions Oy, which offers mental wellbeing services, has studied its customers’ job satisfaction, stress, work efficiency and success at work, as well as happiness. Corona spring clearly reduced stress levels, and many who started working remotely felt even happier when they were able to work safely in the piece and quiet of their home without, for example, the commuter traffic jams and rush. CEO Mervi Lamminen believes that the result also shows the fighting spirit which prevailed during the spring, which has subsequently been suppressed by the second wave of the corona epidemic.
“According to our survey, the proportion of those who felt stressed decreased in the spring and summer. However, the number of those who feel stressed out has risen again towards the end of the year. The time of year may affect this. The share of those who consider themselves happy increased slightly in the spring, but the perceived happiness has also been at a clearly lower level after summer compared to the beginning of the year, ” Mervi Lamminen reflects.
In addition, the survey shows that perceived work efficiency has improved with the transition to remote working during the Covid-19 period. Respondents therefore feel that remote working is more effective than working in the office. Mervi Lamminen thinks that in a changed situation you can also be more merciful to yourself. The average perceived work efficiency increased from 65 percent to 78 percent.
“Experienced feeling of success at work declined in the spring, after which the trend has been cautiously upward. The result may feel good, but in combination it is also worrying as work efficiency increases and at the same time stress levels and the feeling of performance required at work increase. Is this a sign of a path leading to exhaustion? ”Mervi Lamminen asks.
The trend is also reflected in Auntie’s service offering, because in the spring, customers needed more support for their performance at work than before. People sought help from Auntie’s services for, among other things, work-related burnout , challenges related to the work community, and the loneliness of remote work, when the spring of Covid-19 changed the ways of doing work.
Freedom with constraints
According to Tarja Lounasmeri, an Auntie professional, Master of Solution-Centered Therapy and work supervisor, remote working has highlighted many phenomena. In discussions, it has emerged that some enjoy the freedom of working remotely, others have been shackled in banging away in solitude and heating yesterday’s food. Face-to-face meetings in the workplace and enjoying a good lunch together have been moments of recovery and empowering elements for many.
“It is good for HR professionals and supervisors to monitor situations closely. For example, does a colleague who normally is social become critical or offensive in video meetings, does the employee send emails late in the evening outside of work hours, or is someone hoarding too much work for themselves? Employees must not be left alone for working remotely. It is important that organizations stay alert to be aware of how employees are coping and are able to voice their concerns as well, ”Tarja Lounasmeri emphasizes.
In Auntie, the characteristics of the remote work challenges are divided into factors. Loneliness is one of the most significant factors. Work hoarders, on the other hand, are overachievers, with whom one should stay in regular contact with to see how they are coping . It is good to remind them and other workers that working hours exist and that there are limits to the amount of efficiency. Managing the workload is one of the factors that needs to be identified, and it is a good idea to go through it together on a practical level, for example, whether everyone should attend each meeting or can some be skipped if the work situation requires it.
“The role of HR and supervisors is also to support the motivation of the remote workers by emphasizing the importance of the work that is being done. In current working life and especially in remote work, the emphasis is on self-direction. It requires help because self-management doesn’t go naturally for everyone. It is good to open the thematics of self-management. ”
Common rules of the game introduced
Auntie has noticed that remote work can lead to apathy. The grayness of the end of the year may mark all working days that follow each other in the same pattern. If grayness turns to exhaustion, you need to know where to get help and when to go for it.
Tarja Lounasmeri sums up the most important elements of functional remote working as common rules of the game, which, among other things, determine what can and cannot be done in remote work.
“Many ask if it’s OK to turn on the washing machine or go walking the dog or should the camera be kept on at a meeting. These things must be agreed together. When an organization cares about its employees, a call from a supervisor and asking how things are going, is not breathing down one’s neck ”says Tarja Lounasmeri.
A total of 1,155 respondents participated in the Auntie survey. The survey data is from 1 January to 19 November 2020. In Auntie’s services, Auntie professionals provide support to employees of client companies in stress, overachievement and finding lost motivation.