If someone had told Beth* a few years ago that she would be admitted to a psychiatric clinic for stress and burnout while she was working from home, she would have laughed. It should, of course, be far less stressful to work from home – you do not see your colleagues, there is no boss constantly looking over your shoulder and your hours are your own, right?
Beth is an accountant at a JSE-listed company that rendered essential services during the first series of lockdowns. Most of the company’s employees then started working from home and today some employees work at home while others go to the office.
“Initially, it was convenient and even fun to hold online meetings, but with the passing of time the meetings became noticeably quieter, and people started acting aggressively towards one another. It was evident that the stress caused bythe pandemic and the fact that many colleagues lost loved ones during this period began taking its toll. My manager also started phoning me at ungodly hours, even at 22:30 at night,” says Beth.