Welcome to the new normal, whatever that is where you are, for this particular moment…. I know that’s ridiculous semantics start to the blog but the “New Normal” won’t be normal for long. However we have picked up some material changes along this Covid journey we are all on. One of them is the New Normal of working from home. As an example, myself, I haven’t been back to my office since 3/18/20. I work in a capacity now where I do a lot of meta data crunching, analytics and budget forecasting. As long as I have the data I can do this anywhere and my company as deemed people like me to be “flex staff” that means I can work from home, indefinitely. I’m happy about this, but many people out there aren’t.
I found a good article here That discusses some of the nuances with working from home and a new anxiety paradigm around the issue.
From the article: “Just as offices begin to reopen or at least contemplate doing so, a new study suggests that remote work is taking its toll on our collective nerves. Nearly half (47%) of workers say they are experiencing anxiety because of remote working — and among those, two-thirds (66%) say it has crushed their productivity.
The findings, based on responses from more than 1,000 remote workers in a survey by the Omaha-based insurer Breeze, is yet one more bit of concerning news for employers already working overtime to stay on top of the well-being of their people as the pandemic persists. Among other findings in the survey, 52% reported depression, while nearly as many (46%) experienced panic attacks. As a result of remote work anxiety, 57% have sought out professional and/or medical help. More than four in 10 said they suffered from remote work anxiety because they were working too hard or too many hours — worried their employers might think they are slacking off. Of those suffering from remote work anxiety, 43% said they planned to return to the office because of it.”
That’s a big quote and it says a lot. Now the sampling for this survey was 1000 workers which is a decent sample but I would have preferred 10K then we would have some very valuable statistics. One of the things that work does provide you with is an additional social outlet which is now, for many of us gone.
Now I understand there are plenty of negative social interactions at work, it is a hub for humans to get together and interact. For those of us with Anxiety, work places can be a very safe place to be. You have social rules, there are many rules of engagement, you have clear expectations as to your role etc. We can’t minimalize this as a benefit as many with Anxiety thrive in structures social environments and work is one of those key venues.
For the last nearly 2 years now that has either been removed or altered and that has placed many of us in new situations which is uncomfortable. The article does a decent job of illustrating the issue and providing some guidance as to how to combat it. Couple this with the “Great Resignation” and companies scrambling to fill roles and the work dynamic has changed dramatically.
Is this the “New Normal?” I don’t know but I do know that the upheaval caused by Covid 19 is going to be with us for some years to come. As individuals with anxiety it is paramount for us to find a way to cope, survive and thrive. You can do this, remember, one day at a time.
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