Think Twice about Working from Home

unless you have a strong relationship.

When I wrote about working from home last December we were in the grip of snow and bad weather and it seemed a good idea to stay at home, off the roads, warm and safe.

This year there may be more people who have no choice after losing their jobs and either job-seeking or deciding they will have to work for themselves.

In either case it probably means having to set up an office at home.

New research from the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York shows that people working from home find it difficult to switch off from their domestic life. You know the kind of thing: walking the dog, doing the shopping, preparing a meal.

All that can make domestic disputes worse. The “you’ve been at home all day and the dishes are still in the sink” scenario.

So although working from home seems the easier option people can feel more stressed than if they had commuted to work. The more work and family demands competed the more exhausted people felt.

Professor Golden, who led the study of 3,000 home-workers, said; “those with already high levels of work-family conflicts suffered higher exhaustion when they spent extensive time working from home”.

People with low levels of work-family conflict seemed to be better able to cope with working from home.

Working from home, or teleworking, is on the increase in the UK and the Telework Association believes that it’s a win-win situation for both employers and employees as they say it improves both productivity and work-life balance.

The productivity argument is probably true as tele-workers work harder so as not to be seen to abuse the system. However the work-life balance is harder to achieve.

It comes down to whether or not you can create boundaries between work and family, either physically eg working in the garden shed or equivalent, or psychologically being able to switch attention and focus on the work when needed.

Of course some people go to work to get away from problems at home and vice-versa.There will always be people, usually those who are more extraverted, who prefer to work in the presence of others for a variety of reasons including the social aspects.

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