Los Angeles – A recent survey of people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that nearly three-quarters experienced new mental health problems, while 65% developed new physical problems.
Via an online questionnaire, researchers from the University of Southern California examined the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy from April 24 to June 11, nearly 1,000 adults working from home. Respondents were from 40 states and 6.4% were located outside the United States.
Since working from home, 74% of respondents said they had experienced a new mental health problem, and 55% said they had experienced two or more. These problems included anxiety, sadness, difficulty sleeping, low motivation, mental stress and difficulty concentrating.
Respondents spent on average about 90 minutes more a day working than they did in their office environment before the pandemic. Longer working hours were most often associated with having a school-age child at home, having a desk or an adjustable chair at a workstation, and adjusting specific working hours.
“While it was clear that the pandemic was disrupting our lives in a way that was stressful, we were a bit shocked at the high incidence of new health problems among the home-based workforce so early in the pandemic,” Shawn co-authored the study. Roll, director of USC’s doctoral program in business science, said in a press release.
Roll and his colleagues said that organizations pursuing hybrid work arrangements should develop supportive policies and resources, along with considering work-life balance among their workforce. Meanwhile, workers should pay close attention to their feelings of stress, anxiety or musculoskeletal pain and track their symptoms to help identify how they relate to each other.
The study was published online in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation; that Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; and OTJR: Employment, Participation and Healththe journal of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.