Working from home impacts younger generations more negatively

The younger you are, the more likely are you to thrive less, struggle with your work-life balance and feel less efficient when working from home during the corona pandemic. That is the conclusion of a new analysis from IDA.

Corona fatigue has manifested itself at many home-based workplaces. And the youngest members of IDA are particularly affected in terms of their general well-being, work-life balance and efficiency, a new survey among 1,553 public and private employees finds.

In the survey, every third member under the age of 30 responds that their work-life balance has been negatively affected by working from home, while the same is true for every fourth person among the general population. Efficiency levels also decrease more among the youngest members. Here, more than 4 out of 10 members under the age of 30 experience that they are less efficient when working from home compared to when they are at work. Among the total number of participants in the study, that applies to fewer than one in three. And overall, the youngest IDA-members have a more negative view of the period they have been sent home compared to older members.

Morten Thiessen, Chairman of the Council of Employees in IDA, believes that the younger members' worsened well-being and experience of inefficiency is due to the fact that, as relative newcomers to the labour market, younger people are generally more uncertain about their role, corporate culture and expectations.

“If you are relatively new to the job and a little unsure of the company culture and performance requirements and may not have built a super strong network in the workplace yet, then you will probably feel more left to yourself and have a negative experience of the time spent working from home. This may explain why the more experienced members are not as negatively affected. In any case, there is no doubt that the longer we are unable to meet physically with colleagues and partners, the more the social networks in the workplace crack, and this suggests that the younger members are also more challenged on that account, ” says Morten Thiessen.

He believes that there is a significant task here for many managers whose job it is to ensure that their employees thrive. In addition, clear agreements must be made about solving tasks from the home office.

“It is important that the framework for working from home is adapted to the individual's life situation and preferences, and we must be very aware that full-time distance working and thus increased self-management can lead to stress, isolation and a generally poor working environment. That is why it is important for managers to keep up with their employees when they are scattered to the winds at different home workplaces," says Morten Thiessen.

“Because, if expectations and agreements are not coordinated, and the physical framework may not be in place either, then it is difficult to see working from home as a positive opportunity for flexibility. Distance work places great responsibility on managers and requires them to take into account the potentially negative effects. They must have the ability to communicate goals, tasks and responsibilities precisely and at the same time motivate and be in touch with their employees, even if they cannot do so face-to-face,” he says.