The Surprising Reason Remote Workers Are Stressed Out Right Now

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in this not-so-new ‘normal’ and working remotely for over a year now. While many have adapted, there are still a ton of people who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and understandably so. Our recent research found that over 90% of knowledge workers feel stressed while working from home (WFH), with 41% feeling either very or extremely stressed.

This isn’t too surprising given all the added pressure and unknowns the pandemic has created, coupled with the lack of face-to-face interactions. What is surprising, however, is that a lot of the stress at work comes from dealing with inefficient workflows and tools, specifically when it comes to handling documents. Eighty-three percent of workers said the way their company manages documents has not improved significantly during the pandemic. This is a huge problem when you consider how many documents people actually deal with on a regular basis (63% work with more than six documents a day).

Working from home during this time is already challenging enough. So, even the slightest disruption to completing a task—slow internet connection, having no or sub-optimal tools to perform simple tasks like opening a PDF or signing a document—can cause more stress and unnecessary frustration.

 The big problem with paper

Paper might seem like a minor nuisance but actually creates tons of workflow bottlenecks and inefficiencies. In fact, employees waste over four hours every week completing paper-based tasks like filling out forms or getting documents signed. These processes are not only cumbersome and frustrating, but they’re also expensive (much more than you would think).

The EPA estimates the average knowledge worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year, which comes out to about two cases of paper per worker. And with every case costing $40, it can add up significantly. While printing has declined over the last decade—and even more so over the past year—there are still many businesses that rely on paper to get work done. But continued use of physical documents may end up causing more harm than good.

How to make life easier and less stressful for your team

Companies still have time to improve their document workflows and better adapt to the remote work lifestyle.

One easy way to do this is by cutting out paper and adopting fully digital workflows and tools for easier document management and handling.

According to our research, 55% of workers said better document productivity technology would save them time, and 51% said it would make their jobs easier. With a document productivity tool, teams can standardize PDF and eSigning workflows into a single platform and reduce the amount of waste from printing, scanning, and storing paper files.

Read Also: HR Tech Interview with Annie Lin, VP of People at Lever

While more people are starting to go back to the office this year, WFH will still be around in some form or another for the foreseeable future—close to three-quarters of workers plan to work from home as much or more frequently after the pandemic. It’s clear that outdated, paper-based processes simply aren’t sustainable in a remote work world. So, why wait to make a change? The sooner your business starts embracing digital documents, the better.