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Working from home paranoia levels are spiking

An individual with an expectation to experience the fear of missing out can also develop a lower level of self-esteem.

Working from home: Geisha 'Chacha' is performing on Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic - Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Working from home: Geisha 'Chacha' is performing on Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic - Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

Working from home, the major structural change arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, may confer many advantages, such as no commuting, cost savings, flexible hours and so on. However, not seeing people in person – whether team colleagues or a line manager – is affecting the morale of many workers, as borne out from a focused survey. In particular, many workers are worried about being seen as ‘non-essential’ and thereby one day losing their jobs.

A new survey data from Prodoscore finds that 82 percent of U.S. workers say they are happier working remotely compared with being back in the office.  However, when the data is studied in depth, the situation is more complex. It is a mental health issue of importance that one third of U.S. citizens surveyed (32.7 percent) said they are experiencing paranoia due to working remotely.

The survey was conducted during September 2021 by Prodoscore and Propeller Insights, based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults working full time. The survey provides a breakdown in terms of demographics, although it is the main workplace trends that Digital Journal is examining.

Without being physically present in the office, where employees can be seen working diligently by upper management, it appears that ‘working from home paranoia’ is setting in. Here the survey finds that over 70 percent of U.S. workers, who said they were feeling paranoid, indicated that these feelings are impacting their productivity at work.

This is connected with the “fear of missing out” syndrome, which, in these cases, is a consequence of not being physically present in the office, where employees can be seen working diligently by upper management. An individual with an expectation to experience the fear of missing out can also develop a lower level of self-esteem.

Other areas where employees say that are missing out on something includes being part of the key discussions and debates. Here 49 percent of workers said they think they are missing out on important conversations. A related area of communications limitations is evident with 40 percent of workers expressing the view that there is an inability to understand tone through virtual messaging. This sometimes leads to misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Low morale is also evident, with a similar proportion – at 49 percent – saying they feel like they are replaceable. A similar finding is with 20 percent of ‘working from home’ employees saying they were concerned other employees were talking behind their (virtual) backs. This adds to the ow feelings of self-worth and the paranoia about being eased out of a job.

Such data is important for business leaders to assess and should trigger a more critical review into how employers define their workplaces, so that employees are not paranoid, are able to be their most productive, and stay rather than quitting.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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