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HRE’s number of the day: working weekends

New data shows employees are working around the clock while at home during the pandemic. Here’s what that means to HR leaders.
By: | December 7, 2020 • 2 min read


68: Percentage of employees who say they are working on the weekends due to COVID-19

Nearly 70% of professionals who transitioned to a remote setup as a result of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends, according to a survey of 2,800 workers by staffing firm Robert Half. Additionally, 45% of remote employees say they regularly work more than eight hours a day.

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What it means to HR leaders

The data is the latest to paint a bleak picture of work/life balance during the pandemic. Although employees have largely moved remote due to COVID-19, it doesn’t mean that workers aren’t working less being at home. In some cases, it means they’re working much more.

“While remote work affords employees greater flexibility, it also makes disconnecting extremely difficult,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “Many people feel pressure to keep up with rising workloads and are putting in long hours to support the business and customer needs. But everyone needs time to rest and recharge in order to give their best.”

Related: Mayer: Vacation’s all I ever wanted

Other research has found that workloads are greater because of the pandemic. Software firm Zapier, for instance, recently found that a quarter of workers say they feel like they’re online 24/7 because of the shift to working from home.

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HR and company leaders would be wise to be flexible with employees as well as encourage them to take time off and take breaks during the day and should help workers find ways to cope with stress.

“The pandemic has pushed companies to prioritize employee experience,” McDonald says. “Savvy employers are making lasting changes to support their staff’s needs and wellbeing, such as providing greater autonomy and flexibility, regardless of the circumstances.”

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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