Ellen Pao, former Reddit CEO, who currently runs an advocacy group for diversity & inclusion, conducted a survey that dug deep into the dark side of remote working -- work pressure, mental health impacts, harassment & hostility. The results are eye-opening and warrant an urgent systemic change by companies.
The full report is available here, what follows is a summary of the findings & possible solutions.
- 64% of people are working longer hours since Covid-19
- 10%+ people said their manager checks in on them daily
The pressure is just magnified with surveillance tools to track key-presses or to record videos & screenshots as employees work.
Per the survey, harassment includes behavior like yelling, dismissive attitudes, teasing put-downs, uncomfortable & repeated questions about identity & appearance and requests for dates or sex. Hostility is less abusive yet harmful or toxic in nature.
Surprisingly, we are worse off on all these aspects than before Covid-19.
People have experienced increased levels of harassment based on age (14%), gender (26%) & race (10%). The same numbers for hostility are 15%, 30% and 13%.
98% of those who experienced increased gender-based harassment were women and/or non-binary people.
- 85%+ people across levels said their anxiety levels have increased
- 50%+ people had increased anxiety about communicating with coworkers
The biggest setback is that employees don't think companies are capable to prevent any of the above problems. Only 42% of respondents said that their company would fairly respond to problems related to harm.
Clearly, companies advocating that remote work by itself will promote equality, diversity & inclusion have misplaced beliefs. There has to be a conscious effort to solve for the problems at the root level.
Some solutions proposed in the report:
- Conscious effort to bring in diversity in the leadership
- Hold leaders & teams accountable: Ask proactively about harm. Build systems to track outcomes, positive & negative.
- Give real time off: Away from meetings, emails, devices.
- Make mental health a priority at the workplace
- Lead by example: Leadership must be the first to religiously follow the guidelines eg. no meeting fridays.