What you need to know about the challenges of working from home and their far-reaching consequences on employees. We analyze the latest survey findings.

The pandemic has changed the very concept of how work is done. From bidding farewell to physical offices to shifting all communication to video-calling platforms; COVID-19 blurred the boundary between our professional and personal lives. Despite the vaccine rollout, it seems most of us are not going back to offices any time soon.

Major tech companies around the world have already switched to long-term remote work and several others are likely to follow suit. Even Bill Gates seemed surprised to see how well work from home (WFH) culture has worked out. “But once this pandemic ends, we will rethink on what percentage of time we spend in offices, 20-30-50%. Lots of companies will expect their employees to spend well below 50% of their time in offices and maybe the rest of the companies will go the normal way,” he added.

While a recent Nintex study revealed that 70% of all respondents feel they were more productive working from home, many are having a hard time adapting to the new working model. The latest Behavox survey spanning 3000 respondents across the UK, the United States, and Canada found that more than half of all the respondents feel more stressed while working from home than what they felt while working from offices.

Young People Facing Brunt of It
Contrary to the common notion that younger adults are more likely to enjoy WFH, the Millennials are the most negatively impacted demographics. Over 62% of them felt they face higher stress levels while remote working during the pandemic, revealed a study. Another research showed that 45% of Gen Z surveyed feel WFH could hinder their career, while another 75% said they valued their time in offices with their colleagues.

According to the Behavox Enterprise Conduct and Risk Report, 16% of respondents said they kept receiving messages, phone calls, and emails outside of office hours, 14% of them felt stuck at home. The feeling of not working from home, but living at work has more far-reaching consequences.

1. Frustration
Believe it or not, 42% of respondents witnessed their colleagues expressing frustration during the pandemic period. People are also taking out frustration on video conferencing (51%), social media (39%), collaboration apps (46%), and emails (47%). The survey found out that almost half of all angry outbursts during video conferencing meetings resulted in a colleague being fired.

2. Lax Professionalism
While 10% said they found their colleagues using profanity more often, 11% saw their co-workers in inappropriate clothing. Moreover, 1 in 50 saw others take illegal drugs during business meetings.

3. Misconducts
Despite working from home, cases of sexual harassment, racism, bullying, discrimination, and misogyny seem to be prevalent. One in 10 respondents said they knew their colleagues were rating employees for their physical appearance.

4. Inappropriate and Illegal Behavior
Hijacking neighbor’s Wi-Fi connection maybe not illegal but it is definitely infuriating and 16% of respondents are guilty of trying this. Shockingly 29%, 18%, and 22% said that they were either “completely confident” or “somewhat confident” about their colleagues watching pornography on work devices, viewing child abuse images on company devices, and working with pedophiles, respectively.

What Can Be Done
Prompt and unbiased support from managers, CEOs, and HR can help bring the situation under control. However, it is easier said than done, especially amid the pandemic. The survey revealed only 22% of respondents felt more positively about their CEOs during the pandemic than when they were in office. Also, 29% feel that the HR team is too afraid to take action, while a whopping 36% believe they are simply too busy. With WFH becoming the new normal now, top leaders must pull up their sleeves to help employees sail through the tough times.