- UK workers have most cramped homeworking space in Europe and are more likely to resort to working in the toilet, bathroom or balcony
- UK homeworkers suffer most from technostress and results reveal trend towards self-medication
NFON, a European provider of integrated business communications from the cloud and Statista Q, a global specialist in data collection, analysis and market research, have published a European wide survey looking at the impact of the COVID pandemic and working from home. The resulting NFON Survey Attack Wellbeing Report Working from Home 22, examines numerous stress and disruptive factors experienced while working from home, the trend towards self-medication and the working from home paradox.
“As a provider of technologies that make working at home easier, faster, and more efficient, NFON wants to record and better understand the pain points of employees in the new work model. Through the study ‘Wellbeing Report Working from Home 22’, we are learning that companies in Europe need to pay much more attention to the quality of the working environment – people, health and wellbeing are very important. The new way of working is still in its infancy and we entrepreneurs can have the biggest influence on making hybrid-working models fit for people and companies,” said Dr Klaus von Rottkay, Chief Executive Officer of NFON AG.
Respondents were asked about the specific place where they do their work at home. According to the survey, 18% of UK respondents have moved their workspace to a bedroom compared to 12.1% in the EU, and 32.6% of UK homeworkers are set-up to work in the living room (35.7% EU). Compared to 31.8% of EU respondents, just 19.6% of UK homeworkers have a private office. Across Europe, the average space when working from home is 20.32 m². With just 15.35 m², UK citizens have the least amount of homeworking space, with 1.6% of UK respondents saying they work permanently in the toilet/guest toilet, the bathroom or the balcony, compared to 1.2% across the EU.
Technostress at home is felt by almost a quarter of UK participants in the study (24.4%) compared to almost one if five in the EU. This type of stress is caused by technical deficiencies such as defective routers, unsuitable equipment, battery problems and more. 21.6% of UK respondents cited a poor internet connection was stressful (compared to 17.2% in the EU) and 19% said that feeling they needed to be constantly accessible was causing them stress (19.7% in the EU). Much more significantly, 37.2% of UK respondents (35.3% in the EU) said that a lack of communication with colleagues was also a cause of stress as well as a lack of separation between private and professional life (33.6% in UK and 30.3% in EU). “Europe’s businesses must acknowledge the link between digitalisation and psychology. Discussions about burnout in the digital age, or technostress, are becoming increasingly important,” said Christian Montag, Professor of Molecular Psychology, book author and expert on the influen
of digital technologies on human psychology, who’s commentary is included in the report.
Wellbeing through Self-medication
A trend towards self-medication is emerging with 40.8% of UK respondents (compared to 34.4% in the EU) saying that, since the beginning of the pandemic, they have taken non-prescription supplements (e.g., melatonin, legal hemp products, plant extracts, vitamins, calming tea) to improve their wellbeing and 17.6% to increase concentration (18.2% in EU). At 49.7%, Italy has the highest number of respondents saying they had taken non-prescription supplements to increase well-being. When employees started working from home, there was a jump in the taking of non-prescription supplements. In the UK, the use of legal hemp products, such as CBD oil, to increase wellbeing has almost doubled since the beginning of the pandemic (25.9% before, compared to 38.3% since the beginning of the pandemic. 24.9% and 43.3% in EU). For melatonin specifically, the jump was from 38% to 62.6% in the EU (23.3% to 36.4% in the UK). “I find the increase in melatonin taking worrying as sleep is a natural process that should not be out of sync,” said Christian Montag.
Working from Home Paradox
Overall, the study reveals that the relationship between work and leisure is somewhat contradictory. In the UK, 31.6% of respondents stated that their workload has increased (28% in EU) and 27.6% that their working hours have increased (25.2% in EU). At the same time however, 35.9% said they have a better work-life balance and more time for family, friends and health (36% in EU). This is the working from home paradox and NFON will continue to monitor and report on it.