Effective remote measures for young people during the covid-19 pandemic

The world woke up to a new reality as Covid-19 swept through and like cankerworm. The global economy took a major hit, physical and mental health suffered, and human interaction changed to accommodate the new normal.

Young people had their lives disrupted almost abruptly as adjustments were made to fit whatever worked at the time. There was a huge rise in unemployment and youths were heavily affected by this. Movement was only allowed for essential workers like those in healthcare, grocery shop minders, delivery people, and cops amongst others. For the rest of the populace, remote work became the order of the day. For a group that thrived on social engagements and physical interactions, young people found themselves pulled into restrictions that the remote work world had in place. But were there any measures set up to ensure that they could effectively transition from working from an office to working from home?

Remote work is a work mode where professionals work outside of a traditional office environment. This style of work became very popular with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, recent studies show that new professionals of Generation Z have been having a hard time due to the isolation and disconnectedness that comes with remote working. An essay piece in the New York Times stated that flexible work — absent intentionally designed support systems — can hurt the most inexperienced employees in an organization.1

“Their soft skills are weakened because they’re not getting human contact”- Dan Schawbel said in a BBC piece on remote work and young people.”

About half of young people’s households have suffered some form of job-related disruption since the beginning of the pandemic2. Being thrown into a different method of work can be hard and since there was no time to properly prepare their minds for this kind of shift, there is a need to consciously ensure that they feel included in the workforce even though they are not working from the office.

Based on the figures from the OECD risks that matter survey 2020, two-third of the young people surveyed feel that the efforts of governments in ensuring their economic and social security and well-being is not enough, for 18‑29 year‑olds and the total population.

Fig. 1 Socio-economic well-being of respondents. Source: OECD, 2020

Undoubtably, one of the numerous effects the global pandemic left is a higher rate of mental health issues among people especially young people. An OECD survey revealed more than 35% of young people (18-29 years old) are likely to report worsened cases of mental health for themselves and their households3.