Working from home is leading to longer days and more meetings, global study finds

Anyone who’s been working from home amid the unyielding health crisis – especially those also juggling the education or care of children – won’t be surprised. While anecdotal interviews or smaller surveys have already pointed to similar results, said Jeffrey Polzer, a Harvard Business School professor and one of the paper’s co-authors, “what our study adds is documentation at scale of the overall pattern.”


The paper, which looked at data from more than 21,000 companies and in 16 large metropolitan areas worldwide during the eight weeks before and after local lockdowns, only represents workers using the tech provider’s product. And while large, the data only represents a fraction of the workforce.

But it offers a snapshot of how work habits and communication styles have changed for many workers as they tried navigating remote work en masse, especially as the economy worsened, white-collar layoffs mounted and professional anxieties exploded.

“People are afraid – the fear around your job, and around the economy – I want to make sure [managers] know I’m constantly responding to emails and messages and am always on Slack,” said Cali Williams Yost, founder of the workplace consultancy Flex Strategy Group. That’s compounded by a lack of management skills in setting the right tone for remote work, she said. “It’s a toxic brew of burnout and overwhelm.”

For many employees, one bright spot in the paper’s results will be that the total amount of time scheduled for meetings was lower. That fell 11.5 per cent , or nearly 20 minutes per day, according to the data, and the average meeting duration was scheduled to be shorter. (It is unclear how long meetings actually lasted.) The number of emails also returned to pre-lockdown activity over time, the paper said.

The report found some differences between workers in America and Europe. In many European cities, for instance, the reduction in scheduled meeting length was stark, while the decrease in US cities was relatively minor. And while the span of the workday remained high in some cities, including New York, it returned to baseline in others during the post-lockdown period the researchers studied.

Having a longer workday span does not necessarily mean people worked more hours within that day, Polzer is careful to note. Examining the earliest and latest email and calendar data does not account for those who broke away to take care of elderly parents, managed multiple interruptions from schooling young children at home or simply chose to walk the dog for the third time that day.

But a day broken up into shorter meetings or one that bleeds longer into the evening – even if the total number of hours worked isn’t more – can have downsides, too. “Is it working from home or living at work, or both?” Polzer said. “As we try to manage our work from home environment, it’s very hard to turn off work. That’s always been true since our phones have followed us home, but that phenomenon has grown.”

Polzer said the researchers did not break out data by gender to see whether men’s or women’s workday span grew more. In the months since the pandemic began, many have grown concerned that women will take the biggest long-term hits to their careers as schools and day cares remain closed and women disproportionately lose jobs or are forced to make painful choices between their careers, child care and education.


Over time, Polzer said, a trend toward a longer and longer day won’t be sustainable. “Organisations are trying to figure out what the capacity is to handle this type of work,” he said. “People will start burning out if we don’t rethink how they’re spending their time.”

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Crash, fire, false alarm are all in a day’s work

BY DAY, Justin Buhagiar is a maintenance manager and licenced electrician.

But during his downtime, he trades in his toolkit for a truck as one of the region’s auxiliary firefighters.

Unlike full-time fireys, auxiliary firefighters are casual, station-based firefighters who respond to emergencies.

They form an essential part of the service and with 16 already on the force, the Airlie Beach Fire and Rescue Station is calling for more residents to lend a helping hand.

Mr Buhagiar signed up to become an auxiliary firefighter in February last year and he has dived right into the deep end.

“It’s not like a normal job,” he said.

Luke Addis and Justin Buhagiar became auxiliary firefighters in early 2019.

“You could have a car crash, a bushfire, a building fire or even just an alarm for a building … you don’t really know what you’re going to a lot of the time.”

Mr Buhagiar was among the volunteers deployed to Canberra to assist with fighting bushfires that ravaged the country in late 2019 and early 2020.

He described it as a “real eye-opener” and an opportunity to help during someone’s darkest days.

The desire to help during a time of need is what drew fellow auxiliary firefighter Luke Addis to the service.

Mr Addis has also been involved in the Whitsunday branch for about a year but would have signed up sooner had he known about the camaraderie of the station.

“I will admit, I did see a sign up probably 12 months before I came down and for whatever reason, I don’t have a good one, I didn’t make it down here, but I wish I did,” he said.

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“I’ve met some really good people and it’s one of the main reasons that’s kept me hanging around.”

Training to become an auxiliary firey involves a week-long course that is then built upon over the following months.

Beyond the practical skills, Mr Addis said it provided him with the ability to give back to the community.

“We don’t really know what we’re walking into until we see it for ourselves,” he said.

“I like the idea of being able to help someone when they’re not having a good day.”

Expressions of interest or any questions about joining the Airlie Beach auxiliary firefighters can be sent to the station’s captain Brodyn Friend at

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Darwin’s Hidden Valley Tavern breaches Banned Drinker Register law 192 times in just six days

A Darwin hotel has been ordered to suspend takeaway alcohol sales for two days after failing to enforce the Northern Territory’s Banned Drinker Register (BDR) on close to 200 occasions.

The Northern Territory Liquor Commission found the Hidden Valley Tavern sold alcohol without scanning people’s identification 192 times over a six day period between December 9 and December 15.

In the NT, anyone purchasing takeaway alcohol are required to have their identification scanned to ensure they’re not on the BDR that forbids them buying liquor.

People are listed on the BDR register for a range of offences — including committing alcohol-related domestic violence and drink driving — and are barred from buying grog.

The commission said three employees had failed to scan customers’ identification, because of a “complacent attitude”.

“[The staff] said it was not a deliberate decision to provide liquor to a known banned drinker but rather due to a complacent attitude toward regular customers and a desire to provide prompt service,” the commission said.

“[We] accept that each of these employees were genuinely remorseful. They each offered to tender their resignations but the licensee has decided to keep them on.”

The commission said the issue seemed to be a “systemic failure” at the Tavern.

“It became clear that these breaches were not a one-off event over this particular week,” the commission said.

“It may be that the pressure on staff was greater at this particular time in the lead-up to the festive season.

“It is impossible to ascertain the extent and for what prior period these breaches had been occurring.”

The tavern’s owners, JTR Investments, has been ordered to suspend takeaway sales over a weekend later this month.

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In the four days before Brontë’s suicide, her parents say emergency workers missed four chances to save her life

On Tuesday February 18, Brontë ‘Poppy’ Haskins suicided in the home of her ex-partner in Canberra.

The 23-year-old woman was funny, intense in her friendships and a footballer with a mean tackle.

She had a habit of rescuing dogs and horses, and taking vulnerable people under her wing, a trait her parents admired (and sometimes bemoaned).

“She wanted to help everyone,” her stepfather Peter McLaren said.

But Brontë’s mental health issues, present since her childhood, escalated after a series of traumatic events.

In 2018, Brontë was placed on leave from her job as a youth worker after being assaulted by a client.

Soon afterwards she was violently assaulted by a man she was dating.

It set her on a course of worsening mental health, criminal offending and drug abuse, which culminated in her death.

A woman with short, dyed hair and a bald man look into the camera.
Janine Haskins and Peter McLaren both tried several times to have their daughter Brontë hospitalised.(ABC News: Jake Evans)

But Peter, and Brontë’s mother Janine, believe that in the four days before Brontë’s suicide, there were four clear opportunities for authorities to intervene and possibly prevent her death.

On those four occasions, her parents tried desperately to have her admitted to hospital, but they say poor attitudes and poor communication between authorities prevented that.

Janine, who has worked in the ACT as a parole officer, a court liaison officer and as a welfare officer at the Belconnen Remand Centre, said she knew the complexities of responding to mental health issues.

But she and Peter say if their concerns had been heard, their daughter might still be alive.

An AFP Professional Standards investigation is examining the response of ACT Policing leading up to Brontë’s death.

Canberra Health Services has also conducted an internal review, and the ACT Magistrates Court is considering a public coronial hearing.

The agencies say those reviews aim to make systemic improvements to their mental health response.

But her parents fear they are still not being listened to.

“I don’t want this to happen to another family, I don’t want another family to go through this,” Janine said.

The first opportunity: Early Saturday, February 15

A young woman with dyed red hair and tattoos down her arm smiles and pats a horse.
Brontë’s parents say her generous and caring spirit left her vulnerable to exploitation by drug dealers.(Supplied)

A week before her suicide, Brontë was released on bail from the Alexander Maconochie Centre — her only time in jail.

Janine said her daughter being jailed was upsetting, but it also kept her safe from drugs.

“Every time we went in to see her, she was looking better and better,” Janine said.

Brontë’s mother agreed to undertakings in court to report Brontë if she did drugs, drove, or did not return home at night.

Janine said Brontë wanted to get clean, but also kept saying she wanted “just one more shot”.

And on Friday evening, four days before her suicide, it became clear that Brontë had used methamphetamine again.

Her mother said she was having a psychotic episode, and believed there was a Nazi gas chamber under the floorboards of the house.

In video recordings, Brontë can be heard saying she has found proof of a gas chamber, before she begins attempting to tear up the flooring.

Brontë had interacted with police and mental health services several times in the past 12 months, which included a suicide attempt.

One attempt to be admitted to a mental health facility ended after she gave up waiting at the emergency department for 12 hours for a bed to become available.

Janine and Peter had learned not to try to take Brontë to hospital, as it would agitate her further.

So at about 1:00am, Janine called police and mental health services, asking for someone there to take Brontë to the emergency department.

Janine also told police that Brontë had taken drugs, breaching her bail conditions.

“Blind Freddy could see there was something wrong with Brontë,” she said.

Mental health services did not attend, but police eventually arrived about 3:00am.

The officers spoke privately with Brontë, and then told Janine that she appeared fine.

“[Brontë] appeared coherent, stable on her feet, lucid, and did not appear under the influence of any intoxicating substance, therefore no action was taken,” the police report read.

A young woman in a formal dress stands smiling with her parents.
Janine said her knowledge of Brontë should have been given more weight.(Supplied)

Janine said she felt her knowledge of Brontë was not considered.

“I’m her mum, listen to me,” Janine said.

“It’s not like I came home on Friday night and thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got nothing to do, I think I’ll ring the police and waste their time and get my daughter locked up.’

Under the Mental Health Act, police officers and paramedics can make an “emergency apprehension” where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a person has a mental health disorder, and is at risk of harming themselves or somebody else.

A spokeswoman for ACT Policing said officers took into account observed and reported behaviours, as well as a person’s previous interactions with police and mental health services.

“Unfortunately, direct clinical advice is not always available to police officers 24/7, noting the limited hours of operation by [mental health services],” the spokeswoman said.

“Police are aware that a significant determinant of future behaviour is past behaviour; however, there may be ‘baseline’ behaviours exhibited by the person that do not warrant clinical intervention, treatment and care in a hospital setting.”

The second opportunity: Sunday night, February 16

Just after 9:00pm on Sunday, Peter called police to again tell them that Brontë was drug-affected and had just left the house with a friend.

Peter told officers Brontë was agitated and behaving erratically.

He said she was in breach of bail conditions and that he was prepared to give a statement.

But police said because he had not seen Brontë actually consuming drugs, there was nothing they could do.

“Further information would be needed to ascertain whether a patrol should be dispatched,” police noted at the time of the call.

“I don’t think there’s many drug users who say ‘I’m just about to have a shot, can you come down and watch me?'” Janine said.

A young woman relaxes in a hammock as she cuddles a large smiling dog.
Brontë was a “funny, gregarious” woman, but her journals revealed her deep depression.(Supplied)

A spokeswoman for ACT Policing said officers did not have powers to drug test outside of road traffic legislation, unless it was permitted by somebody’s bail conditions.

“There must be evidence of drug use, or obvious impairment by drugs for police to arrest a person for being in breach of bail conditions which require abstinence,” the spokeswoman said.

Police did not attend the home on Sunday evening.

The third opportunity: Monday night, February 17

On Monday evening, Janine went downstairs to Brontë’s room to check on her, and found the door blocked.

After forcing it open, she found Brontë lying on her bed, unable to be woken.

“I couldn’t rouse her, her breathing was shallow,” Janine said.

After a health line recommended she call an ambulance, paramedics attended and were able to wake Brontë.

After taking observations, Janine said the paramedics told her Brontë was fine.

Janine said she told them about Brontë’s drug issues, as well as her own undertakings in court.

Mental health records show paramedics had also had to resuscitate Brontë about three weeks earlier after a suicide attempt.

A young woman stands with her arm around her mother's shoulder, as the husband leans in and smiles with them.
Brontë had recent interactions with police, paramedics and mental health services weeks before the incidents leading to her death.(Supplied)

A spokeswoman for the ACT Ambulance Service said “paramedics ensure that the wellbeing and dignity of patients is at the forefront of their minds when responding to an incident”.

Ambulance Service guidelines advise when making a mental health assessment, paramedics should consider a person’s appearance, behaviour, speech, mood and thoughts.

“Individuals who do not meet [Mental Health Act] criteria can still be transported to hospital if required and would not be under an Emergency Apprehension,” the spokeswoman said.

Janine said after their assessment, the paramedics gave Brontë a Ventolin inhaler and left.

The fourth opportunity: Tuesday morning, February 18

On the morning of Brontë’s suicide, police called her stepfather to follow up from his call on Sunday night, and to ask if he still wanted them to attend.

“I thought, ‘Yeah, it’s another opportunity for them to check on her,'” Peter said.

“She just looked wrecked.”

Officers visited their home at 10:00am, spoke with Peter, and then woke Brontë to speak with her.

The coronial investigation report recorded that Brontë “told police that she had been keeping clean off drugs [and] she was trying to sort her life out and stop drug use”.

Officers reported she appeared “healthy and lucid”.

Brontë’s own journal entries at the time indicated she was struggling with her mental health.

Her mother said in her time in corrective services, drug users including Brontë would say “anything” to avoid police.

“From my experience working with ice users, for all I know Brontë could have decided she could fly … how they come to that assessment [that she was fine] I don’t know,” Janine said.

A post-mortem found Brontë had methamphetamine and amphetamines in her system.

After the police left, Brontë began screaming and crying, so her mother went downstairs to check on her.

She became angry at her mother for calling the police on her, and after a heated argument, left the home with a friend.

In the police report, the friend describes her as “erratic, shaky” and in an unusually bad headspace.

After being dropped off at a hair salon, Brontë visited the home of her ex-partner.

It was there, just after 2:00pm, that Brontë was found unconscious.

Her death was ruled a suicide by police.

‘An opportunity for them to improve’

Brontë’s parents say since her death they have been left out of reviews by health services and ACT Policing.

Janine and Peter say the agencies need to use a restorative approach similar to that used in the justice system.

They have lost confidence in closed reviews, and fear the agencies have not learned from Brontë’s death.

The documents they do have access to are missing details and indicate key people — such as Brontë’s doctor and psychiatrist — were not spoken to.

“Whilst some of the details are unimportant to the police investigation or are known and not reported on, this can create a great deal of anxiety … that makes it hard to move on,” Janine said.

A young woman with a nose and chin piercing, and tattoos down her arm, smiles at the camera.
Janine Haskins said her daughter’s death has changed her life forever.(Supplied)

Janine and Peter want an open review of the days leading up to Brontë’s death, to see what could have been done differently.

“This is an opportunity for them to improve the way they do things,” Peter said.

The ACT Government recently established the PACER (Police, Ambulance and Clinician Early Response) program, a dedicated three-person multi-agency crew, to respond to mental health calls.

It operates from 2:00pm until midnight and attends to four or five people on average per shift.

Police and paramedics still attend calls related to mental health issues outside of the PACER program.

Janine said after her daughter’s death, her life would never be the same.

“The only way to make this loss less senseless is to try and improve the path for those who are yet to walk it, hoping their journey involves less pain.”

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James Stewart to play first game in 790 days.

AFL: Mitch Robinson is established to engage in his 200th AFL and his 100th for the Brisbane Lions and boy is he pumped.

A 790-working day AFL absence is likely to finish for Essendon forward James Stewart on Friday evening with Bombers coach John Worsfold seeking to insert some scoring firepower to his staff for the clash towards Brisbane.

Worsfold also flagged a potential debut for huge person Sam Draper versus the ladder-major Lions confident that bringing in two contemporary players, with out an AFL video game among them considering that 2018, posed minimal threat in a COVID-19 impacted time.

“We like to lessen any possibility when we name gamers and we usually will not unless of course we assume they are all set to go,” Worsfold reported on Wednesday.

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“Ned Cahill (who made his debut in Spherical 7) hadn’t played any footy this calendar year and hadn’t played AFL right before. A lot of gamers are creating debuts in different situation, a good deal of players are coming off extended-time period accidents.

“We make confident they are physically match and prepared to cope with AFL footy. Variety is various concern. If you needed a assurance how each and every player you carry in was heading to carry out, you’d by no means carry them in.

“James (Stewart), certainly we now feel as though he is all set to go.”

Stewart, who has battled a significant of injuries, has not played at senior amount because round 11, 2018 even though 205cm large man Draper has created a successful recovery soon after rupturing his ACL last year.

Their most likely inclusion comes as the Bombers go on to struggle personal injury with both of those Orazio Fantasia (calf) and Jayden Laverde (ankle) becoming a member of a expanding record this 7 days.

Worsfold advised that the influence of remaining forced on to non-AFL grounds to prepare, though stationed in their Gold Coastline hub, could be participating in a element.

“There’s a large amount of injuries creeping in, I never know if it’s any far more than typical season,” he stated.

“We are schooling on distinct surfaces often and that is often a warning indicator. In Melbourne you coach on your very same floor, and participate in on the exact same grounds.

“Up below we are teaching on different grounds, some and more challenging some are softer. And that does influence. There’s a variety of motives why these injuries may possibly be creeping in.”

Worsfold the influx of additional groups, with both equally Sydney and GWS also headed to Queensland, would make the situation much more tricky.

“We all have to have to be flexible. There are only so a lot of grounds accessible and with more teams arriving the timing of your coaching classes and the days you want ot teach, we are all fitting in alongside one another,” he reported.

“Everything is functioning moderately very well and we are informed you are heading to pick up injuries. We are taking as several precautions as we can.

“But we nonetheless have to train, which is the base line.”

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Russell Gould is a senior Herald Sun sportswriter with approximately 20 years working experience across a wide selection of sporting activities from cricket to golfing to rugby league to horse racing and AFL, composing equally news and in depth fea…

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Cheat days help !(?) : mentalhealth

When my sister was ~18 (10 years ago). My sister used to self harm (more than two incidents per week) and looking at her scars was one of the most painful things for me. None of us were aware of the therapy stuff back then, and our only help was her doctor who generally treated her more severe scars. He made a schedule for my sister- he asked her to stop right away, but allowed her cheat days- once a month when she is extremely helpless, she can go for it and he will take care of it. That year, my sister self-harmed herself 8 times. Next year, it was just 4.. 4 years later we got to know about therapies for people like her who need a professional help along with support systems. And now, she is clean for more than 3 years with no urge for self harm.

Today we looked at her old scars for tattoo designs, and I felt proud of her. Wanted to share it with everyone.

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AFL to play 33 matches across 20 straight days as part of next fixture block

The AFL will phase 33 matches across 20 consecutive days as component of its fixture for rounds nine to 12 of the coronavirus-disrupted premiership season.

The Western Bulldogs and Richmond will kick off the agenda of matches when they encounter each other in Carrara on Wednesday July 29, just two times soon after the completion of round eight.

Matches will be played throughout Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, with evening-time double-headers a characteristic of the condensed routine.

The two NSW-based mostly groups, Sydney and GWS, will travel to Perth in which they will engage in West Coast and Fremantle, as nicely as each individual other.

North Melbourne will temporarily relocate to Hobart and perform two matches in rounds 11 and 12 — from Melbourne and Brisbane respectively — should the Tasmanian Authorities offer an exemption.

“Unparalleled moments delivers us an unparalleled fixture for the following block of online games,” AFL basic manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld claimed in a statement.

“This time has had so lots of twists and turns but it has also pushed huge interest from our supporters throughout the region.”

Auld explained the AFL made the decision to condense the season mainly because most golf equipment were being centered in hubs.

“We have taken the opportunity to compress the time as the suggestions from clubs is that when they are in a hub surroundings there was a drive to perform a lot more games in a shorter interval of time, and in transform we can correctly full the period in a quicker structure,” he said.

“Provided that we do not have the skill to prioritise attendance at matches this time, it enables us to participate in game titles in the non-common time-slots of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night time and showcase our game across the complete 7 days.”

AFL rewards Tasmania

Auld stated participating in matches in Tasmania was a priority for the AFL.

“We have been consistent in our want to get matches in Tasmania,” he reported.

“Each the AFL and North Melbourne are heavily invested into footy in Hobart and we are very joyful for the point out and the town to host two matches.”

The Kangaroos are scheduled to play in Hobart in rounds 11 and 12.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

The AFL will introduce 4-day breaks, with Brisbane, Collingwood, Geelong, Melbourne and North Melbourne to have two each.

Adelaide, Essendon, Gold Coastline, Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda all have just one four-working day crack throughout rounds nine to 12.

“In constructing this block of matches, we have concentrated on making certain the teams with 4-day breaks are, where feasible, minimising journey in and around all those matches,” Auld claimed.

“Groups who have four-working day breaks in this block of matches will be afforded a bye in the upcoming block.”

Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn and West Coast have byes in round 10.

The Giants and Swans will have a bye the following spherical to accommodate the 14-working day quarantine necessity established down by the West Australian Govt.

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AFL to play matches across 20 straight days as part of next fixture block

The AFL will stage matches across 20 consecutive days as part of its fixture for rounds nine to 12 of the premiership season.

The Western Bulldogs and Richmond will kick off the schedule of matches when they face each other next Wednesday night, just two days after the completion of round eight.

Double-headers are a feature of the condensed schedule, while North Melbourne will play matches in Hobart in rounds 11 and 12.

More to come.

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Bride Dies at 30 from Cystic Fibrosis Just 2 Days After Wedding: It’s ‘Traumatic,’ Says Husband

Bride Dies at 30 from Cystic Fibrosis Just 2 Days After Wedding: It’s ‘Traumatic,’ Says Husband |

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