Can Working from Home be Bad for You?

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(— January 27, 2016) — Alongside increasingly flexible working and living arrangements, technology has contributed to a cocktail that’s known as “always on” culture.

The flexible working trend has swept the world, and with it has come a host of benefits. But not everything associated with flexible working is actually good for our health or work/life balance. New studies are showing that some methods of autonomous and flexible work may have negative consequences.

Can a healthy balance be struck, or should we go back to traditional office hours?

Too much flexibility can be harmful

Flexible work could be a pernicious factor in the pursuit of a healthy work/life balance. Though many have hailed the idea of flexible working as the healthy future of business, certain elements of the practise do not work to our advantage.

Flexible hours and remote work allows an employee’s working day to seep into their home life. Often employees will do their work throughout the day. This can mean working late into the night at home, rather than spending a solid six hours at the office. With property guardianship becoming an increasingly popular flexible accommodation option, live-in guardians could be twice as much at risk. As Oaksure Property Protection say on the topic of property guardians, guardians are required to be an active on-site presence and perform regular patrols. This could lead to some guardians working throughout the day and night.

It has been noted that break rooms are an essential element of productivity within office environments. If employees are working from home, they should try to delineate space in the same way in order to take a break and refresh themselves.

Employees having trouble switching off

Due to the unregulated hours that employees can end up working, flexible workers may find it incredibly hard to switch off as their mind is always engaged. This can lead to unhealthily high levels of stress and anxiety.

Stress can cause sleeping problems, appetite issues and even negatively affect the immune system.

Flexibility can be a good thing but parameters are needed

It isn’t necessarily flexible working that is at fault. Issues arise when the practice is taken to its extremes and not carried out as responsibly as it could have been

Flexible working hours can be effective if certain parameters are put in place. If one sets out rules to effectively separate their work and home life people can still benefit from flexible working.

Ultimately, it’s about reaching a balance. Anyone considering flexible working should think carefully and ensure it’s compatible with their lifestyle.