COVID-19 Teleworking Linked to ‘Epidemic of Hidden Overtime’

COVID-19 origin tracing
COVID-19 origin tracing

A COVID-19 shift to working from home has led to an “epidemic of hidden overtime” where workers never quite switch off, a UK report out Monday revealed.

The expectation that remote workers should be on 24 hours a day, seven days a week leads to burnout, a study by Autonomy think-tank found.

“By the end of 2020, the prevalence of mental distress among workers was 49% higher compared to 2017-19, and had increased across all major sectors,” the research said.

It revealed that women were 43% more likely to have increased their hours beyond a standard working week than men, and for those with children this was even more clearly associated with mental distress.

“An astonishing 86% of women who undertake a standard working week alongside childcare, greater than or equal to the UK average, experienced mental distress during April 2020,” it read.

The British think-tank proposed codifying the “right to disconnect” to protect workers from being penalized for refusing to perform their tasks outside of normal working hours.

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