In the UK currently, 15% of the those employed nationally work from the comfort of their own home, with a further 31% reportedly working from home at least one day a week. This flexible working style has become the norm for most, with a mere 6% left working a traditional 9-5 job. Considered one of the most sought-after employee benefits, it allows an individual to manage their work in line with other responsibilities, to which 90% of British professionals believe boosts productivity and 58% believe improves motivation.
However, research exists to challenge such beliefs, claiming that, after so long, working from home correlates with a number of drawbacks; the greatest being isolation.
Blanda, an editorial director for a tech company based in Philadelphia explains: “You don’t get the positive reinforcement you’d normally rely on from the ‘vibe’ of being in an office” and that “beyond the lack of interaction with colleagues there is also the lack of interaction with the wider world”.
Further investigations by London-based academic Frances Holliss identified that accounts of mental ill-health are reported frequently in those working from home. This is a result of professionals struggling to set clear boundaries between their work and personal life across all industries and job roles. Of course, however, the biggest hurdle is regaining perspective when things are not going to plan. Not knowing when to say no to work – or how to switch off for the day – can quickly lead to an individual becoming overwhelmed. The result of this is that our body's ability to fight off infection may decrease due to poor or insufficient sleep, increasing fatigue levels and ones ability to perform in turn.
Interestingly, whilst figuring out how to balance life and work in the same space is difficult for everyone, research by the Hans Bockler Foundation in Germany suggests women find it most challenging and that planning is key: “Having readily available healthy snacks for consumption and having a separate office space can really help”.
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