Can working from home seriously damage your health?

Working from home is many office workers idea of employment heaven and if offered the chance then the lure of a working day with flexible hours and no commute would prove too good an offer to turn down.

However, while it’s often assumed that remote working is good for your work/life balance, a recent study has found that if this balance is already out of kilter, then working from home can actually exacerbate feelings of mental and physical fatigue.

No boundaries

The study which polled an admittedly small sample of 316 employees at a computer firm that allowed telecommuting found that moving the workplace to the home could actually intensify, rather than alleviate, any existing work and family tensions.

One of the reasons for this is that many home workers don’t properly separate work and home space, and this means that they never leave behind the negative aspects of home life, such as piles of washing, dirty dishes and other domestic chores, and this acts as a constant reminder of the work/family conflict and leads to a rise in stress levels.

Piles of housework could also act as a distraction, and when office work falls by the wayside because of housework, this can also lead to an increase in stress levels.

However, when working from an office all of these things are out of sight and out of mind and office work and housework are naturally separated.

Another reason for this burnout could also be that some parents see remote working as a way to cut back on childcare costs. However, in reality this only adds to the day’s stress as family and work commitments rarely mix well.

However, despite these findings, there’s no doubt that when done correctly, remote working can be great for maintaining a good work/life balance, the key is keeping the two things separate no matter where you are.

Have you found that working from home has had a detrimental effect on your state of mind? Let us know in the boxes below or on Twitter at @ConfCallUK

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