Many of us have been working from home for so long due to the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re forgetting what office life was like — working from home is now just...working.
Despite office workers’ not-so-new normal, working from home has brought on a host of problems for workers, including poor work-life balance, burnout, and, for many Silicon Valley workers, job insecurity. According to a recent study by Blind, an anonymous professional network, 49% of workers feel vulnerable due to job uncertainty. Of the 2,800 workers surveyed, many are employed at companies like PayPal, Google, Intuit, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Apple, and Amazon.
PayPal employees felt especially vulnerable, with 66% reporting job uncertainty due to working from home. Apple, however, landed at the other end of the spectrum, with only 32% of employees reporting uncertainty.
It’s not just job uncertainty that worries employees — it’s financial instability. Although many of the employees surveyed work for companies that are seeing record growth, profits, and share prices, an average of 46% of workers feel financial instability due to working from home. 60% of LinkedIn employees felt this way, while 30% of Google employees and 26% of Facebook employees felt the same.
One Amazon employee who was surveyed posted on the site about being fearful that the next round of layoffs would include them. The employee noted that Amazon’s PIP (performance improvement plans) were a harmful part of the culture. According to a New York Times report, PIP is Amazon’s way of saying “you’re in danger of being fired.”
“I am currently traumatized of the mandatory PIP culture at Amazon (especially since I am on a visa),” the employee wrote. “I worked really really hard to get this far in life and I am immensely grateful, but I can't function at work due to fear.”
A Google employee noted that the constant risk of layoffs isn’t just harmful to employees — it hurts the company’s reputation, too. “I have heard that reputational damage is the biggest negative of layoffs like at Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber so that when a company rebounds it will struggle to win top talent again,” the employee wrote.
Other surveys conducted on Blind’s site reveal other signs of dissatisfaction among Silicon Valley employees. Back in February, a survey found that 61% of workers felt burned out. That number has since grown to 68%, or just over 2 out of 3 workers. While the number was high before the pandemic set in, work from home fatigue led to increased rates of burnout.
Workers may not have to face the dreaded Bay Area commute any longer, but other stressors like Zoom fatigue and longer hours have pushed some workers over the edge into burnout territory. Coupled with the fear of mass layoffs, it’s no wonder that big tech’s gargantuan profits aren’t translating into employee satisfaction.