Working from home is often seen as a dream come true for some people, especially those with kids or other dependents. The idea of working at your own pace, in a familiar environment, surrounded by all your creature comforts sounds like a fantastic opportunity. Especially when you consider that working from home has long been thought to have a positive effect on productivity, with 77% of people reporting that it made them more efficient and 52% said it made them less likely to take time off.
However, this doesn’t mean that every aspect of working from home is beneficial to your work life. There are several problems that can arise which need to be addressed to get the most out of your experience.
Whilst it may be comfortable to work from your kitchen table, sofa, or even your bed, these ‘workstations’ can actually end up causing a lot more harm than good. A survey found that even though 41% of 1,004 UK employees work from home at least once a week, the clear majority do not do so from an ergonomic workstation, or even a rudimentary desk setup.
The problem with this is that these employees working from home are potentially setting themselves up for repetitive strain injury (RSI) or back problems further down the line. If you want to work from home without sacrificing your health then it might be worth investing in a proper workstation. This will reduce the risk of common physical ailments, allowing you to perform to the best of your ability.
According to a report from the United Nations, another physical ailment that can affect employees working from home could manifest as an inability to sleep properly, or at all. Problems like this can arise from how you choose to work at home. It’s tempting just to pull out your laptop and work from the comfort of your bed in your PJ’s but this simply does not get your brain engaged and ready to work in the way that it needs to.
If you choose to work too comfortably then your brain will still start to blur the line between work and home life, eventually making it much harder to get in gear and making it almost impossible to switch off.
An important method in combating this problem is to formulate a proper schedule, and stick to it. This schedule could be as simple as getting out of bed and showering at a reasonable time to putting on clothes that you would wear outside of the house. If possible, you should also take a short walk at lunch time or an evening to get some much needed fresh air.
These small but important changes will ensure that your body knows when it’s time for work and when it’s time to rest, which can ultimately help to stave off any problems caused by a confusing work/life balance.
The stress that comes with being “Always Available”
A big problem that a lot of people have when working from home is that they feel obligated to be reachable 24/7 and a lot of this stems from guilt, which in turn can be pretty stressful. Let’s face it, working from home is often much better than being in the office and so it’s natural that you start to feel a little guilty for those you’ve left behind in their cubicles.
You’re doing your job, you’re just not in the office, and yet you still feel obligated to prove that you’re actually working.
In order to combat this unnecessary stress, you should remind yourself that just because you’re working from home it doesn’t mean that you’re not working and you’re under no obligation to work outside of your regular hours. It can be hard to change this thought process but it will help you to create a much healthier work/life balance in the long run.