“I’m not Working from Home, I’m Living at Work”: Perceived Stress and Work-Related Burnout before and during COVID-19


Analytics and Data Science Institute

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School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development

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The purpose of the study was to better understand the relationships among stress, work-related burnout, and remote working brought on by social distancing efforts and stay at home orders put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors developed a questionnaire incorporating valid and reliable self-report stress and burnout measures (Perceived Stress Scale & Copenhagen Burnout Inventory), demographic, and work-related questions. The questions were used primarily to determine workers’ levels of stress before and during the pandemic, to assess potential burnout, and to establish the extent of their previous experience with remote work/telecommuting. The questionnaire was open from March 23rd to May 19th 2020 and distributed through a survey link on social media and by Qualtrics research services. Results from the analyses suggest that perceived stress did increase during the COVID-19 restrictions, especially for people that had limited experience working from home and were female. Individuals who worked from home before COVID-19 had higher levels of work-related burnout but did not differ based on gender or part-time work status. The results suggest that working from home may create more stress and result in more burnout, which challenges the current moves by some employers to make working from home a permanent arrangement. The authors believe that having research based on valid and reliable instruments will help employers and schools make better decisions about how to support those who can remain at home to avoid the potential for secondary outbreaks.

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