The outbreak of the still
ongoing pandemic occurred a year ago. Back then remote working or teleworking
was allegedly the ideal solution for our protection from Covid-19 infection.
Office workload was continued from home. However, one year on, the perception has
changed, sensibly. Mental exhaustion or the so-called burnt-out syndrome has
taken its toll, to a increasing extent, to a growing number of employees. As of
late, the worrying occurrence of the burnt-out syndrome has prompted
specialists to link the syndrome to work from home. Research studies have
already been published internationally. As for the specific, national-level
research, such an endeavor is also in progress. With details on that, here is
psychologist and pedagogue Dragos Iliescu.
data are mainly provided by the focus groups created at the University of
Bucharest and the Western University in Timisoara, in the field of occupational
health, especially targeting the issue of the workplace stress. Figures have
literally shot up, just as expected, actually. As for the burnt-out syndrome,
it is not caused by overworking, just as we have thought so far. Apparently, we
don't seem to work too hard at the time of the pandemic since we spend most of the
time at home, schoolchildren are a case in point. Notwithstanding, exhaustion
is not caused by work alone, that is common knowledge already, but by other
issues, which are rather circumstantial. And what leads up to the burnt-out
syndrome is not necessarily stress as such, but the prolonged or chronic
stress. Unfortunately, chronic stress alters people and these days we're
speaking about chronic stress, it is about those things we do constantly and
which sometimes entail excessive work, or emotional or cognitive demands and
suchlike. They alter you if they get chronic. "
Scientific studies on
occupational stress have revealed that people perceive they work more, even
when at home. The workload has even increased by 40%, or thereabouts. We do not
know, objectively, if that's how things are, actually, or whether the
perception we have on that is purely subjective. Yet in the long run,
perception really matters in this case, since people react according to their own perception of events.
In earnest, the boundaries between private life and life at work have become
completely fuzzy. You have the feeling you work day in day out, with no break.
You stop for a while to grab a bite or cook for the children, then you get back
to work. Quite a few people go have been going through that, you feel you work
harder and the balance simply breaks, between the family and the professional
life. And that usually goes with the sense of insecurity caused by the
pandemic, since you don't know what is going to happen. All these factors are
stressors and, given that they do not disappear so that you may have time to
recover, they become extremely harmful. "
private from professional life no longer exist, and that has become something
obvious for specialists as well. Petru Pacuraru is a Human Resources expert offering
courses taught by the HPDI professional training company. Company manager Pacuraru tells us how his clients have described what they go through, since
they are employees working from home.
plain language, that means 'I didn't even realize the day was over', 'What I
saw was light, and then dark', I didn't get up from my chair for four hours, I
didn't have a lunch break.'. 'The pressure I feel is constant, I cannot get rid
of it even at the weekend. I have a headache, I am insomniac and I put on
weight.' (...) The burnt-out syndrome comes with a whole package of nasty things,
also depriving you of having a better communication and of the time you may
spend with your nearest and dearest. I
think it is surprising and counterintuitive. We thought working from home was
supposed to help us, but in fact it deprives you of a great number of things if
you're not that keen on separating the professional from the private sphere of
Children are also affected
by exhaustion because of the online schooling and the prolonged exposure to
digital screens. They have the usual symptoms of this condition and the cause
of their exhaustion is the same as in the case of their parents. Nevertheless,
were we to speak about a specific trait of children's exhaustion, it is caused
by the fact that stressors are school and the lack of socializing with friends.
In such a case, parents need to seek specialized help and try to be as close to
their children as possible, through communication and understanding. Actually,
the mechanisms of efficiently managing such a mental condition ought to be
developed for youngsters but also for adults since it will not disappear too
soon, since remote working will not stop once the pandemic has stopped. And why
speaking, around 20 per cent of the employees across Romania perform remote
working. Yet in the big cities, since there is not very much industry and
employees work in offices, most of them, teleworking touches around 50%. For
instance, we work with people employed in the banking system, where 80% of the
employees perform teleworking. In the IT sector, such a ratio reaches 90 %. So
it is clear that in the coming years, three to five years, we will have a
hybrid working system made of remote working and working at the office. So my
intimation is that, in the years to come, we shall succeed to manage the
burnt-out syndrome that goes with remote working. "