Risk of increased stress with return to homework

Home work may become relevant again if the spread of infection picks up speed. But for everyone, the message is not welcome. “It can be difficult to manage and perhaps go beyond motivation,” says Linda Widar, who researches teleworking.

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The Swedish Public Health Agency is preparing for further restrictions if we in Sweden were to see an increased spread of infection, something that is seen in other countries in Europe. Homework for those who have the opportunity is relatively easy to introduce again.

In that case, we are somewhat better equipped this time, according to Linda Widar, who researches teleworking and health at the University of Gävle.

– Now they have worked and developed policies and guidelines in the wake of the pandemic and many managers and employers probably have them on hand now. This is something that has come as a positive effect, says Linda Widar.

But even if the workplaces are better prepared, you as an employee can still have many question marks about how it will be, something that can lead to frustration and anxiety, according to her.

– Now many have also switched to return to the office and the conditions for working at home may not be as good as before. Having to resume the work environment at home can take time and energy and it can be a stress factor and demands on employees – which can be difficult to manage and perhaps exceed motivation.

Many positive to homework

At the same time, homework has been something positive for many, according to Stefan Tengblad, professor of human resource management at the University of Gothenburg.

Previous employee surveys have shown that about two thirds of all homeworkers have enjoyed being at home, about 20 percent answer neither or, while only ten to fifteen percent have been negative to homework.

– In self-assessment of productivity, most employees have thought that they have been as productive as before and a group has been able to do even more from home.

But from an employer perspective, some have thought that it has been more difficult to manage work remotely, Stefan Tengblad continues.

Therefore, an important lesson to take with you is to have continuous reconciliations between manager and employee in teleworking – and that these should not only be about tasks, but also be reconciliations about how the employee feels and how everything works.

When working at home, you as an employer can miss various signals that an employee is feeling unwell.

– The pandemic has taught us that it is possible to have these conversations digitally, but it is important that you listen in, says Tengblad.

There is a routine

There is now an acceptance that we will need to adapt to the infection – something that may be a difference from before, according to Pernilla Petrelius Karlberg, researcher at the Stockholm School of Economics.

– Then we have also learned that it matters to have more discipline and to structure your day – so that you do not end up in digital meetings from early morning to late evening.

Even if there is a routine in place, you still miss the social meeting with colleagues. Talking to your colleagues and making sure to find a structure together can be a solution going forward.

– Also to use social tools, meet and talk and thus create a support chain, says Linda Widar.

If you already feel anxious about having to return to homework, you should talk to your employer, according to Linda Widar.

– In my studies, managers have described that they lack that employees hear from them and that they often do it when it has already gone too far. If you feel anxious from the beginning and you know that it did not work well for me to work at home, contact the manager and have a conversation about how to solve this.

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.

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