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After returning to the offices, was working from home a blessing that we did not appreciate?

In the morning you meet in pajamas with bosses online, at noon you sit on your yoga mat to relax a bit, and early in the evening you are with the family, but in real life not many people have that perfect picture of working at home. A year and a half after the spread of the Corona pandemic, studies and opinion polls reveal a mixed picture of the psychological and physical consequences of working at home.

What is certain is that the pandemic has strengthened working from home. According to a study conducted by the Hans Böckler Foundation before the Corona crisis, only 4% of the workforce in Germany was working from home mainly or exclusively, and then the percentage increased during the first closure. In April 2020, to 27%, the numbers are now declining again, but they are still much higher than they were before the pandemic.

Studies now provide indications of the consequences of working from home, such as a study by Microsoft and published in the journal Nature Human Behavior. The tech giant that commissioned the analysis mandated work from home on its employees in March 2020, and the study has now analyzed the data and communications of nearly 61,000 employees from December 2019 through June 2020.

The result: although more work was done at home, there were negative effects on communication and collaboration between different departments. Specifically, employees spent less time in face-to-face conversations, and instead used more email or text messages. According to the study’s authors, this leads to the isolation of employees and reduced information sharing.

Only 4% of Germany’s workforce worked exclusively from home, then the percentage rose during the first lockdown in April 2020 to 27%.

This can have a negative impact on production and innovation.

Hanis Tschacher, an expert in organizational and work psychology at the German University of Leipzig, believes that the study highlights only one aspect. on employees, but only if it remains within a certain framework.”

And Tasakhr explained that studies indicate that making it possible to work from home for one or two days a week is ideal for employees to feel satisfied and enhance productivity, adding that in such a framework it will be possible to organize communication digitally, and it is also possible to have personal conversations, and he said: “From a psychological perspective, Video conferencing is still better than email exchange.

However, in the long run, this cannot replace face-to-face conversations, especially when it comes to conducting dialogues aimed at fostering trust, collaborating creatively, or resolving conflicts.

At the end of 2019, Tasakhar himself began conducting a survey of nearly a thousand employees regarding their physical and mental health, and the study became long-term with the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, and the survey has been conducted on participants monthly since March 2021, and thus the psychological expert collected observations about the consequences of Corona crisis on the world of work.

The presence of employees who work from home and others from the workplace, may be one of the causes of resentment among workers.

Among these observations is that “before the pandemic, the feeling of comfort among extroverts was higher compared to introverts, then the matter was reversed, and extroverts became more prone to stress due to the situation, while introverts deal with it better,” adding that those who are distinguished by their conservative nature found some options – such as video meetings – More fun.

At the same time, Tasakhar and his colleagues found that with the option to work from home, teams quickly split into subgroups, an observation that fits one of the findings of the Microsoft study.

Tasakhar explains that the presence of employees working from home and others from the workplace, may be one of the causes of resentment among the workers, adding that the company’s management in this case must ensure that there are no feelings of inequality, and said: “Managers must communicate with employees and justify structures Work well, so as not to negatively affect employee satisfaction or the company’s work culture.

Tasakhar stated that in all discussions about working from home, we should not forget that the workplace is also an important resource. “The office is a great balancing factor in which everyone has the same potential,” he said, explaining that when working from home, social and economic factors play a role.

“Childless couples who live in a large house can certainly work from home better than single parents or younger employees who live, for example, in shared apartments or cramped quarters,” Tascher says.

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Reference-www.aljazeera.net

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