Survey: 35 percent say working from home has harmed mental health

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FILE – This June 19, 2017 file photo shows a person working on a laptop in North Andover, Mass. The U.S. internet won’t get overloaded by spikes in traffic from the millions of Americans now working from home to discourage the spread of the new coronavirus, experts say. But connections could stumble for many if too many family members try to videoconference at the same time. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Thirty-five percent of workers who telecommute said their mental health had deteriorated as a result of doing so amid the coronavirus lockdown, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Keio University in Tokyo, among other institutions.

The survey was conducted online on March 26-28, involving 8,475 employees — including non-regular workers — aged from 20 to 64.

Of the about 21% of respondents who said they work from home, half of them did so in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Among the telecommuters, 35% said their mental health had deteriorated as a result of having to work from home, 50.7% said it had no impact on their mental health, and 14.3% said their mental health had improved.

Of the respondents who said doing telework had worsened their mental state, 41.3% said it was difficult to separate their work and personal lives, followed by 39.9% who said they weren’t able to do enough exercise, and 39.7% who said they had difficulty communicating with co-workers.

Prof. Isamu Yamamoto of Keio University’s faculty of business and commerce, who conducted the survey, said: “There is a risk that working hours will get longer if the boundaries between work and personal life become blurred. It is necessary to establish a rigid system in which work can be carried out in a planned manner, such as by setting working hours and the timing of contact with supervisors.”

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