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Remote workers suffered significant 'mental distress' during the pandemic

remote work
(Image credit: Image Credit: Gpointstudio / Shutterstock)

For all the benefits remote working brings, there’s one major drawback: loneliness. As reported by The Guardian, this is one of the conclusions of a new study just published by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).

Based on data from interviews with more than 8,500 people before and during the pandemic, the report claims loneliness has a particularly detrimental effect on those that live alone and work from home.

However, people who don’t live alone and still work from home have also experienced a “significant increase” in loneliness, not felt by those working in the office, the report said.

“More of us than ever now work from home and use technology to replace many aspects of work previously done in person, but this cannot fully replicate the working environment for everyone,” said Isabel Taylor, Research Director at NatCen.

“As the government considers current working guidance, individuals, employers and government departments should be aware of the impact working from home is likely having on people’s mental health.”

Ever since lockdown was enforced in early 2020, most employees have worked from home if possible. The public is polarized on the prospect of remote working extending beyond the pandemic.

On one end, there are the supporters, who claim remote working improves work-life balance, enables employees to sleep more and spend more time with their families. They also claim employees spend less as they’re not forced into commuting or eating out. 

On the other end, there are those who oppose remote working, arguing that it hurts their mental health, ruins trust with the employers, and hurts their productivity as they are unable to reach out to colleagues.