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‘The Line Between Work Stress And Life Stress Has Dissolved’ — And It May Cost You Hours Per Day


Rent delinquencies, broken leases, significant declines in revenue, hurricanes, increasing flooding and roaring wildfires plague the commercial real estate industry. On top of that, commercial real estate workers are grappling with a reeling economy, the political tensions springing from the upcoming presidential election, nervousness about COVID-19, and the fact that many children are schooling from home.

Under these circumstances, workers who feel like they are getting less done lately — even if they are more busy than usual — are not alone. According to the results of a new survey, the sheer effort of managing the stress begotten by 2020 is costing employees as much as 10 hours per workweek of time lost.

“The line between work stress and life stress has been dissolved,” according to the report by Headspace. “Stress in any area of someone’s life contributes to, or is exacerbated by, stress at work.”

Of 2,500 respondents — employed adults in the U.S. and UK — roughly a quarter said they lose about an hour of work per day to stress, while 21% said they lose up to two hours.

Further, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released in August, the agency found that 40% of Americans are struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse at some level. Further, more than one in 10 American adults have seriously contemplated suicide.

"The emotional toll the pandemic has taken on workers who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs — while watching their colleagues be furloughed or let go — is creating global worry about long-term mental health concerns,” Headspace noted.

Indeed, as stressful as it is to lose one’s job, those who remain grapple with "survivor’s syndrome", which comes with job insecurity, depression, anxiety and a lack of motivation.

The sheer circumstance of working from home could add stress, too. “There may not be a big productivity loss in working from home, but there are concerns about anxiety and depression,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said on a recent edition of Walker & Dunlop’s Walker Webcast.

Working from home may be derailing, but going back to the office does not necessarily offer relief. For those with particularly severe anxiety, HR Drive writes that a disability accommodation, which could include permission to work from home, may be in order.

Meanwhile, Headspace reported fewer than half of all employees feel their companies have increased access to mental health tools in response to COVID-19 — and younger workers are the least likely to be impressed by their employer’s response.

According to William Kassler, chief medical officer of government health and human services at IBM Watson Health, while employers can provide some support, they must remember that HR professionals are not counselors. Kassler told HR Dive that instead, HR should “develop policies and practices, provide resources and connect employees with providers.”

Related Topics: Walker & Dunlop, Headspace