Young adults are having a harder time finding the motivation to work during the pandemic than their older peers


work from home
As a majority of the US workforce work from home during the pandemic, and a recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows that younger respondents are struggling to self-motivate during the pandemic. Getty
  • A recent survey from the Pew Research Center showed that 42% of US adults under the age of 50 reported difficulties in finding the motivation to work since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Respondents between the ages of 18-29 expressed difficulties motivating themselves at an even higher rate: 53%.

  • A quarter of respondents said finding an adequate workspace during the pandemic has proven to be difficult.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As she wakes up each morning in her miniature Brooklyn apartment, Noa Gutow-Ellis’ motivation to be productive has waned each day the pandemic has dragged on.

The 24-year-old former museum collections and exhibitions assistant is currently applying to law schools. She’s one of many young adults grappling with their mental health and motivation to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 285,000 people in the US alone.

“I don’t remember 9/11, like I have no recollection,” Gutow-Ellis told Insider. “This is the first time that I’ve experienced death and suffering on this kind of a scale.”

In a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, 42% of adults under the age of 50 said it’s been somewhat or very difficult for them to feel motivated since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Respondents aged 50 and older said the same just 20% of the time – a 22 percentage point difference.

The divide is even larger for some of the country’s youngest workers. According to the survey, 53% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 complained of a lack of motivation.

“I’m almost just like, ‘How are we doing anything else?’ How am I supposed to study for the LSATs so that I can get my law school applications out when all I want to do is try to make things better for people?” Gutow-Ellis said.

She said spending all her time confined in her apartment has added to the stress. One in four respondents to the Pew survey also noted that they had a difficult time finding adequate workspaces during the pandemic.

“I do everything in the same space – and I’m someone who really thrived off of being able to go work in a library or a coffee shop,” Gutow-Ellis said. “I’m definitely finding that when you cook and eat and sleep in the same shoebox in Brooklyn, it’s very hard to differentiate when to do what.”

Four other people under the age of 29 spread across the US shared similar frustrations with Insider. They asked to be anonymous so they could speak freely about motivation and mental health and not have their employers retaliate.

Some young adults are working remotely as they enter the workforce for the first time post-college, sometimes leading to imposter syndrome where they don’t feel like they can keep up with their coworkers.

As one person told Insider, “combine that with regular anxiety and a hint of pandemic depression, and baby you’ve got a mental illness stew going.”

Jesse Lehrer, a 37-year-old in New York who was working in the field of social work before quitting and enrolling in online classes, told Insider that his motivation was sapped because of how his office handled transitioning its workflow during the pandemic.

“They were just giving me total busy work to do,” Lehrer said. “Most of it was just a complete and utter waste of time.”

Lehrer told Insider that the switch to online classes has improved his mental health and has helped him stay busy and pass the time. But the ongoing pandemic continues to take a toll on his motivation.

“It’s hard to be motivated for anything right now because of being home and not having your regular social supports there,” Lehrer said. “The backdrop of everything is just depressing and stressful.”

Read the original article on Business Insider



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