Several studies and surveys have found that newly remote employees largely want to keep working from their homes, but other research suggests that mental health, job satisfaction and motivation are suffering.
According to research firm The Martec Group, remote workers are not all adjusting to remote work in the same way. Not every employee is happy to work from home in their sweatpants and slippers.
A study of 1,214 individuals across different industries, demographics and seniority levels from April found four different levels of satisfaction with working from home, and the majority were reporting significant declines in mental health and job satisfaction.
Here’s that breakdown:
- Thriving Employees (16%): Job satisfaction, motivation, and company satisfaction improved during COVID-19; introverts
- Hopeful Employees (25%): Highest company satisfaction, but still struggling with mental health and focus/productivity
- Discouraged Employees (27%): Most significant declines in mental health, job satisfaction, etc.; struggling extroverts
- Trapped Employees (32%): Lowest company satisfaction and mental health; misses socializing in the office
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The study also found that stress and focus levels suffer from working remotely, while work-life balance has improved.
According to The Martec Group, 42% of respondents said their stress level worsened, while 34% said it stayed the same and 24% said it improved.
Meanwhile, 42% said their focus worsened, 41% said it stayed the same and 17% said it improved.
One of the appealing aspects of working from home is the idea that employees will be more productive, but that’s not entirely true, as just 19% said they are more productive at home and 40% each said productivity stayed the same and got worse.
However, 38% said their work-life balance improved, 32% said it stayed the same and 30% said it got worse.
When we take the Martec Group study and juxtapose it with research from IBM and Gartner, we see that employees might be willing to put up with added stress and problems focusing in exchange for a better work-life balance.
IBM said in June that 81% of remote workers wanted to work from home at least some of the time, and 61% said they want it to me their primary way of working.
In March, Gartner surveyed more than 300 finance executives and found that 74% of those firms will move at least 5% of their employees to permanent remote positions, and nearly a quarter said they will move 20% of their on-site employees to remote positions.
If companies and employees want to continue down this road of remote work and save money on facilities, they’ll need to address these mental health and focus issues.