AbstractRemote and hybrid work have become highly desired workplace perks, with plenty of research showing their advantages. In fact, employees who work remotely often say they're happier, more productive and more likely to stay with their employer. But new research shows there's at least one drawback to these arrangements: Remote and hybrid workers tend to experience higher rates of mental health issues. Fully remote (40 percent) and hybrid work (38 percent) are associated with an increased likelihood of anxiety and depression symptoms compared to in-person work (35 percent), according to an analysis by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit research organization. For its report, IBI analyzed data from the Household Pulse Survey, an online resource created by the U.S. Census Bureau to determine how households were impacted by the pandemic. IBI partnered with Elevance Health (formerly Anthem) to analyze claims data related to mental health. Although there isn't a massive disparity between in-person and remote workers' likelihood of depression and anxiety, it's an important difference that employers would be wise to pay attention to, researchers said. "The differences in prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms between hybrid, remote and onsite are statistically significant. Our research illustrates that remote work may not be the ideal solution for every employee," said Candace Nelson, director of research at IBI, adding that more exploration of the topic is needed.
CitationMayer, K. (2023). A Potential Downside to Remote Work? Higher Rates of Depression. SHRM.
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