Work‑From‑Home Improved People’s Mental Health, Productivity, Survey Finds
Working from home has improved people’s mental health, and boosted their productivity, according to a survey of around 10,000 respondents across the country — only half of whom wanted to return to work, while the rest said they preferred to continue working from home.
Conducted between October and November 2020 by YouGov, Mint, and the Centre for Policy Research, a Delhi-based, public policy-focused think tank, the survey covered more than 200 cities and towns in India.
Interestingly, the survey found that people working from home reported greater improvements in mental health, closely followed by those who have started going out to work on a rotational basis. Those who had switched to their pre-pandemic work routines and resumed working from offices full-time reported the least improvement.
Since the pandemic began, reports have found that one in every three Indian professionals is dealing with burnout. And while it may seem like the findings of the present survey are contradicting these reports — they actually aren’t: the survey found that those working from home are indeed more anxious and worried than they were before lockdown. But so are those who have begun working from offices — suggesting that factors other than working remotely, like the fear of losing their jobs, or other stressors pertaining to the global pandemic and the uncertainty it has brought, may be responsible for the increased anxiety.
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And this does correspond with experiences people have had. Anubhav, a 22-year-old copywriter had told The Swaddle in September that while he enjoyed working from home initially, his joy was soon replaced by a “serious lack of energy and motivation.” But he also added that since he lived alone, it was social isolation, and not working from home per se, that was bothering him. “Without the normal pace of general life, how am I supposed to keep the normal pace at work, right?” he had said.
In fact, the survey also revealed that a greater proportion of those working from home, or going to offices only on a rotational basis, reported sleeping better, exercising more, and bonding better with family members — suggesting that these factors may, overall, be contributing to improved mental health by helping them strike a better work-life balance.
In addition, 45% of the respondents noted that working from home had boosted their productivity.
“Interacting with people drained me of energy. Performing for society gets tiring after a while,” Divya, 25, a content specialist, had told The Swaddle last month, adding how working from home allowed her to simply focus on her work, without having to “chit-chat with colleagues.” While admitting that the lockdown hadn’t, of course, been easy, she said that she preferred ‘the new normal,’ nonetheless.