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While the benefits of work-from-home during the pandemic have been hailed by many, it may not have been such a rosy prospect for many HR professionals – concerned by the prospect of losing staff to burnout.

A total of 58% of HR leaders are concerned that the mental toll of working from home will cause them to lose employees who may be forced to take time off due to burnout, new data has revealed.

The study – commissioned by LinkedIn in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation – found that 79% of HR managers believe long-term homeworking has unearthed a culture of so-called e-presenteeism – where employees feel obliged to be online as often as possible, even after working hours.

While the figures are primarily from British workers it is also something HR professionals in Hong Kong should be mindful of.

Three-quarters of respondents also believe that e-presenteeism has the potential to have a negative effect on employee mental health by adding stress and anxiety – both precursors to burnout.

“We cannot have the same business-as-usual expectations on ourselves or of our employees – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to work full-time, look after children at home and keep up our other responsibilities,” Chris O’Sullivan, head of fundraising and communications at the Mental Health Foundation, told HR Grapevine.

Aside from quizzing HR leaders, LinkedIn also polled office employees to ascertain their response to the impact of work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A staggering 86% of British employees said that remote working has had a negative impact on their mental health. Main reasons cited for this include proving to bosses that they are constantly working hard, increasing the risk of burnout.

Employees have also mentioned challenges to working from home full-time, such as increased anxiety and poor sleeping patterns but on the flipside, 44% said they feel more connected to family, enhancing work-life balance.

Parts of this article were first published on the HR Grapevine website.