In efforts to find a solution for work-life balance, many people regard working from home as the answer. According to a 2017 study conducted by the United Nations, those who do their work from home report higher levels of stress. Results of the study may come as a shock to many people who consider work-from-home as ideal for personal freedom.
There are several factors associated with working from home that both increase and decrease stress. Part of the reason for the increased stress is due to the multitude of challenges faced by highly mobile workers, and these challenges are unique to this setup.People often dream of the flexibility that comes with working from home which includes getting up and going to sleep following one’s personal body clock. Similarly, most people may enjoy having the freedom to choose who they interact with each day (and avoid listening to office gossip, complaints, and politics), but may be surprised by how lonely it is to be in isolation and excessive peacefulness. Being away from everyone else will require mobile workers to put in that extra effort to communicate, something that is done naturally and automatically when in a workplace setting.
Both managers and employees face a different set of challenges when working remotely. Managers require new ways of communicating with their team; they must be open enough so employees feel comfortable, trusting but at the same time monitor without overpowering. To ensure employees do work, managers will have to be responsible. Bearing in mind that managers too, experience what the mobile worker experiences, added monitoring, managing and reporting is no easy task.
Here’s more on these and other widespread sources of stress for those who work where they live.
Lack of Boundaries
Creating a structure in your personal and professional lives and ensuring that you don’t blur the lines between productivity and leisure time, between socializing time and working time becomes vital when you work from home. Lack of boundaries (in any aspect of our life, for that matter) have never resulted in positive outcomes. The novelty of deciding when to start and stop working, when to wake up and go to sleep, will wear off once the mobile worker realizes that it is hard to complete the task for the day without the existence or minimal boundaries, rules and supervision.
It is especially difficult for those who need to look after children during the day. This setting can be even more challenging as one may feel torn between professionalism and personal responsibilities. Time management suddenly becomes crucial now, compared to the times when the office was the workplace.
For many people who have experienced working from home will realize that office structure that once felt inhibiting, is necessary support on which we structure our lives. It is difficult to self-impose a structure at home without high levels of discipline and motivation. Rules and boundaries make use more efficient and productive. Without it, we may crumble.