The biggest challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic on gender-related work from home in biomedical fields-world-wide qualitative survey analysis

Bezak, Eva and Carson-Chahhoud, Kristin V. and Marcu, Loredana G. and Stoeva, Magdalena and Lhotska, Lenka and Barabino, Gilda A. and Ibrahim, Fatimah and Kaldoudi, Eleni and Lim, Sierin and Marques da Silva, Ana Maria and Tan, Peck Ha and Tsapaki, Virginia and Frize, Monique (2022) The biggest challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic on gender-related work from home in biomedical fields-world-wide qualitative survey analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (5). ISSN 1660-4601, DOI

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(1) Background: This paper aims to present and discuss the most significant challenges encountered by STEM professionals associated with remote working during the COVID-19 lockdowns. (2) Methods: We performed a qualitative analysis of 921 responses from professionals from 76 countries to the open-ended question: ``What has been most challenging during the lockdown for you, and/or your family?'' (3) Findings: Participants reported challenges within the immediate family to include responsibilities for school, childcare, and children's wellbeing; and the loss of social interactions with family and friends. Participants reported increased domestic duties, blurred lines between home and work, and long workdays. Finding adequate workspace was a problem, and adaptations were necessary, especially when adults shared the same setting for working and childcare. Connectivity issues and concentration difficulties emerged. While some participants reported employers' expectations did not change, others revealed concerns about efficiency. Mental health issues were expressed as anxiety and depression symptoms, exhaustion and burnout, and no outlets for stress. Fear of becoming infected with COVID-19 and uncertainties about the future also emerged. Pressure points related to gender, relationship status, and ethnicities were also evaluated. Public policies differed substantially across countries, raising concerns about the adherence to unnecessary restrictions, and similarly, restrictions being not tight enough. Beyond challenges, some benefits emerged, such as increased productivity and less time spent getting ready for work and commuting. Confinement resulted in more quality time and stronger relationships with family. (4) Interpretation: Viewpoints on positive and negative aspects of remote working differed by gender. Females were more affected professionally, socially, and personally than males. Mental stress and the feeling of inadequate work efficiency in women were caused by employers' expectations and lack of flexibility. Working from home turned out to be challenging, primarily due to a lack of preparedness, limited access to a dedicated home-office, and lack of previous experience in multi-layer/multi-scale environments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19 impact; Working from home; Gender; Biomedical fields; Qualitative international survey analysis
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2022 06:43
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2022 06:43

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