When Zoom Is The Workplace: Facts About Remote Work & Mental Health

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Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus (Covid-19) a pandemic on March 11, 2020, many employees have been working from home. For the American communication technology company, Zoom Video Communications, this situation led to an explosion from 10 million to over 200 million daily participants within three months (Source).

Despite Zoom stepping up to create a new conception of the workplace, the fact that workers are now restricted to their homes creates significant problems linked to mental health issues. One of the issues that have come to the fore is the idea of “Zoom Burnout.”

In the Zoom workplace era, managers will need to start rethinking the idea of mental health issues in the workplace. This article looks at how the new workplace, facilitated by Zoom meetings, may exacerbate the mental health issues that already existed before the pandemic. We offer ten tips for improving mental health in a workplace where Zoom meetings connect employees.

Prevalence of Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

Since the workplace can be considered a microcosm of the society where employees come from, it seems prudent to start by looking at the prevalence of mental health issues in the general population.

The WHO reports that “Globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression, one of the leading causes of disability, with many of these people also suffering from anxiety symptoms.” This costs the global economy “US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity” (Source).

If the Zoom workplace is introducing its own unique set of mental health challenges, it adds to challenges that have already been in existence for many years.

For instance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “nearly 1 in 5 US adults aged 18 or older (18.3% or 44.7 million people), reported any mental illness in 2016. Besides, 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious” (Source).

In 2019, The American Institute of Stress stated that 23% of workers reported high levels of stress in the workplace (Source). The CDC adds that “depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical job tasks about 20% of the time, and reduces cognitive performance about 35% of the time” (Source).

For people managing people, the numbers above are a wake-up call that there is a need to come up with strategies to assist employees faced with mental health challenges. If not attended to, job performance and productivity will suffer.

Also, mental health issues can result in poor communication, a lack of engagement with one’s work, and can negatively impact daily functioning and physical capability (Source).

Continue reading this insightful article on mental heath in the workplace on People Managing People and learn how you can help your employees and coworkers in this digital “new normal.”