Emotional and physical overdose of remote work


Lately, we've been seeing more and more writings and comments about how tired and exhausted people are beginning to feel after the weeks of home officing, after hours and hours of video conferences, virtual get togethers and coffee breaks with colleagues.

Surprisingly, there was an article published by Finnish broadcasting company YLE of a study showing that remote work has actually increased the amount of sleep and sports and decreased the amount of stress whiting the office workers who worked remotely this spring. So, do we really feel better then?

National Geographic wrote of a phenomenon "Zoom fatigue" which argues that the digital or virtual interactions can be extremely hard on the brain. This can be due to the missing body language part in the video calls. We usually rely on the body language in communication much more than we think and that part is missing in those telcos. In video meetings we also need to be constantly dividing our focus between the little pictures on the screen and other surroundings and the communication between the participants in not as natural. We have to work extra hard to make sense of all this. The exhaustion is inevitable.

The remote works days are also quite similar which drives us towards apathy. Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat wrote that Finland was the number one in the EU adapting the remote work strategy - nearly 60% of Finland's working population has switched to remote work this spring.

And this is also seen in our data. With our customers who are measuring emotions in their employee experience. The employees are satisfied when the work is getting done and the work environment seems to be quite calm and relaxed, but there's not much enthusiasm seen in the results. But tiredness is something that has been growing among our client's data this spring. Even though exhaustion is even not a factual emotion, or an affect as such, and measuring the physical changes is not in our focus. But this is hitting the data so hard that it cannot be overlooked.

This is the time that more than ever we need to be focusing on the emotional experience of the employees. We need to know what can be done to make the remote work more comfortable and producing but also what can be done that the transition back to more traditional office hours will be as good as possible, and would benefit everyone.