A recently released study of work habits during the COIVID-19 pandemic has revealed that 15% of remote employees have worked while high during the outbreak. The survey of remote employees, which was conducted by online cannabis resource AmericanMarijuana.org, found that employees who worked from home while under the influence of cannabis often reported reduced stress and increases in productivity and creativity.
To conduct the study, researchers interviewed 1,001 remote employees about their work habits and views on substance use in the virtual workplace. Among the survey’s respondents, 45.1% were women, 54.5% were men, and 0.4% were nonbinary, while the average age of those in the survey group was 37.8 years.
Working While High Most Popular Among Young Employees
After analyzing the data from the survey, researchers determined that 15% of remote employees surveyed said that they had worked under the influence of cannabis during the pandemic. Aditya Sachdeva, project manager for AmericanMarijuana.org, said the data revealed several noticeable demographic trends regarding employee cannabis use.
“Based on our statistics, we can clearly observe that younger white-collar employees, especially those in their 20s, work from home while high the most,” Sachdeva wrote in an email to Cannabis Now. “Gender and employment level differences are less distinct, however age is much more telling, as is the difference between white-collar and blue-collar employees.”
The survey showed that 41.3% of remote workers aged 20 to 29 who use cannabis reported that they worked while high during the pandemic, while 36.6% of workers in their 30s did so. Among remote employees 40 to 49 years old who use marijuana, 35.1% worked under the influence of cannabis during the coronavirus outbreak and 29.8% of workers 50 years and older did the same.
Among cannabis users by gender, 36.6% of men said they worked remotely while high during the pandemic and a slightly higher percentage, 37.9%, of women did. Among white collar cannabis users, 44.9% worked at home while under the influence of marijuana during the public health crisis, while only 21.6% of cannabis users who are blue collar workers did so.
Remote workers offered several reasons for getting high while working. A majority (60%) said that getting high helped relieve stress; 54.4% said it increased creativity; and the same percentage said cannabis use on the job increased productivity.
Co-Workers Suspected of Getting High At Work, Too
The survey also asked virtual workers how they viewed on-the-job substance use by their co-workers and supervisors. More than a third (37.2%) said they suspected that their colleagues used marijuana, and a quarter thought that either their boss (12.5%) or their boss and co-workers (12.5%) used cannabis.
Among cannabis users, 37.8% said that they had talked with a co-worker on a virtual call about smoking marijuana, while 34.7% suspected that a co-worker or supervisor had been high while on a virtual call. Sachdeva noted that almost half of cannabis users thought that others in the virtual workplace were using cannabis at some point while on the job.
“One of the more interesting findings from our research revealed that 42% of remote workers have suspected their boss or co-workers have been high during the workday,” said Sachdeva. “As many workers are on video calls much more often, it’s pretty funny that over ⅓ have suspected they were high on a virtual work call as well. It will be interesting to see how attitudes towards working under influence shift as people head back into their offices, particularly in regard to marijuana policies.”
The survey also asked respondents who use cannabis if they would be interested in smoking marijuana with any of their colleagues. While 40.2% said that they were not interested in smoking weed with others in the virtual office, 28.7% said that they would be willing to smoke out with their co-workers. Another 17.8% said that they would like to use cannabis with their boss, and 13.4% said that they would use cannabis with both their co-workers and their supervisor.
Sachdeva said that the results of the survey offer insights for employers on the cannabis use of their remote workers that have implications on the formulation of company policy regarding marijuana use.
“There are some fascinating discoveries from the research that can be beneficial to business owners and managers. The research found that among those who consume marijuana during the workday, a large percentage of these workers cite benefits such as decreased stress, increased creativity and increased productivity,” Sachdeva said. “These findings may challenge previous biases in the workplace and open up future discussions about the pros and cons of allowing employees to consume marijuana.”
Other Drugs Also Popular Among Remote Workers
The survey also asked about the respondents’ use of other substances while working remotely during the pandemic. Over-the-counter drugs, alcohol and CBD products were all more popular than THC cannabis goods. Virtual workers also reported that they had used other drugs including nicotine, prescription drugs and psychedelics while on the virtual job, although to a lesser extent than marijuana.
Full results of the survey are available online. The margin of error for the study based on the U.S. population of 94.3 million remote workers is 3% with a 95% confidence level, according to the researchers.