Reddit ex-CEO reveals survey showing the dark side of remote working 👁
Written by: Hrishikesh Pardeshi, Founder at Flexiple, buildd & Remote Tools.
Last updated: Jan 19, 2023
Ellen Pao, former Reddit CEO, who currently runs an advocacy group for diversity & inclusion, conducted a survey that dug deep into the dark side of remote working -- work pressure, mental health impacts, harassment & hostility. The results are eye-opening and warrant an urgent systemic change by companies.
The full report is available here, what follows is a summary of the findings & possible solutions.
Increased Work Pressure
- 64% of people are working longer hours since Covid-19
- 10%+ people said their manager checks in on them daily
The pressure is just magnified with surveillance tools to track key-presses or to record videos & screenshots as employees work.
Increased race & gender based harassment & hostility
Per the survey, harassment includes behavior like yelling, dismissive attitudes, teasing put-downs, uncomfortable & repeated questions about identity & appearance and requests for dates or sex. Hostility is less abusive yet harmful or toxic in nature.
Surprisingly, we are worse off on all these aspects than before Covid-19.
People have experienced increased levels of harassment based on age (14%), gender (26%) & race (10%). The same numbers for hostility are 15%, 30% and 13%.
98% of those who experienced increased gender-based harassment were women and/or non-binary people.
Mental health impacts
- 85%+ people across levels said their anxiety levels have increased
- 50%+ people had increased anxiety about communicating with coworkers
Employees don't trust companies to prevent or respond to harm
The biggest setback is that employees don't think companies are capable of preventing any of the above problems. Only 42% of respondents said that their company would fairly respond to problems related to harm.
Remote work by itself is not the problem, neither the solution. We need to bring in a conscious systemic level change.
Clearly, companies advocating that remote work by itself will promote equality, diversity & inclusion have misplaced beliefs. There has to be a conscious effort to solve for the problems at the root level.
Some solutions proposed in the report:
- Conscious effort to bring in diversity in the leadership
- Hold leaders & teams accountable: Ask proactively about harm. Build systems to track outcomes, positive & negative.
- Give real time off: Away from meetings, emails, devices.
- Make mental health a priority at the workplace
- Lead by example: Leadership must be the first to religiously follow the guidelines eg. no meeting fridays.
P.S. We conducted a survey ourselves to understand how remote work has affected people world over and saw some really interesting results. You can check them out here.