每日英語跟讀 Ep.K084: Is Remote Work Making Us Paranoid?
The number of people working remotely has skyrocketed since January 2020, with approximately half the U.S. labor force working from home in the early days of the pandemic. Those workers tend to be more educated and wealthier than workers whose jobs cannot be performed remotely, and low-wage workers have been much more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic.
While some have returned to the office since last spring, a significant number have not. Many estimates of how many office workers projected to work permanently at home, post-pandemic, range from 20% to 30%, up from under 10% before the coronavirus.
But millions more Americans communicating completely virtually with their co-workers does not mean our emotional office dynamics have caught up yet to our new videoconference world. Many are feeling a spectrum of new anxieties about their interactions with colleagues.
Employees are asking themselves questions like: Is that Slack message unanswered because I’m getting fired, or because my boss is dealing with remote schooling her kid? Did that joke land flat on that video call because it was a bad joke, or am I falling out of favor?
Past research on the topic of organizational and social paranoia shows that working from home may exacerbate uncertainty about status, which can lead to over-processing information and rumination, said Roderick Kramer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Remote work can contribute to “feeling out of the loop, because you’re missing the kinds of ad hoc conversations that tend to reassure us we’re in good standing,” Kramer said.
So-called organizational paranoia isn’t always irrational. And there’s even a term for that kind of sensible hypervigilance: prudent paranoia. “Part of paranoia is about self-presentational issues,” Kramer said. And it’s not just in our heads that we are being judged for how we look, and how our homes look, on video chats.
Jane Marie, 42, who is the owner of the podcast production company Little Everywhere and is a single mother, said she’s worried that she is losing out on business opportunities because of how she comes off on video calls. “I wear the straight bangs across short bob that only eccentric gallery owners in movies have,” she said. “I always worry if I’m meeting new people remotely on Zoom, I won’t get my serious side across — already being a woman is the worst for that.”
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5238124
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