Work From Home brings burnout, anxiety in its wake

The issue has assumed serious proportions as psychiatrists TNIE spoke to, said three out of five patients they see have complaints triggered by WFH.

Published: 16th October 2021 06:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th October 2021 06:53 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Work From Home (WFH), the new work culture that allows one to work from the comfort of her home, seems to bring along its own negatives. While it is preferred by many, employees are now complaining of increased burnout, depression and anxiety.

The issue has assumed serious proportions as psychiatrists TNIE spoke to, said three out of five patients they see have complaints triggered by WFH.  Professionals from IT, teaching, marketing and advertising say their work hours have stretched and they are facing increased pressure to achieve targets. While many wanted to quit their jobs, others pointed to marital issues. 

A 42-year-old man, presented with depression, sadness, mood fluctuation and disturbed sleep, told the psychiatrist he had difficulty focussing. His problem started from the first lockdown and aggravated over the year. He felt he was not appreciated by his company as he didn’t get an increment, he was under pressure as the only breadwinner and was afraid of losing his job. 

In another case, a young couple had different shifts. While one worked at night, the other worked in the morning. Though they wanted to start a family, they had hardly any time together throughout the week. This made them think of alternative and artificial ways of conception.

Dr Shradha Shejekar, Consultant – Psychiatrist, Aster RV Hospital, JP Nagar, said, “We are seeing more cases of depression and anxiety due to increased workload during WFH. In the pre-pandemic era, though people had heavy workload, they had sufficient distractions and activities to take their mind off work. The extended WFH is adding to depression. Earlier, the day was divided into segments, now the 9-6 routine has been broken as people often feel they have to meet deadlines and targets even beyond 6pm. It seems like endless work, which can take a psychological toll.”

Dr Satish Kumar, Consultant – Clinical Psychologist, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road, pointed out that with WFH, many are facing sleep disturbances and increased alcohol consumption. “Work-life balance is disturbed, since people are working late into the night. They face sleep disturbances because they often work in bed. They need to understand the need to set up a separate place for work, and use the bed only to sleep at night. We have seen many cases of anxiety, depression, insomnia, anger issues and alcohol consumption due to increase in workload,” he said.

Psychiatrists point out that companies must take measures to ensure their employees feel cared for, like introducing opportunities to take a break from work, opening up avenues to discuss frustrations and providing mental health support. 

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