Complex Made Simple

Working from home isn’t as great as you think it is

* Teleworking may have advantages but it can also be harmful

* Those who work from home have tendency to clock more hours

* Levels of stress also increase


At first glance, working from home – or a coffee shop, or anywhere outside an office – sounds like a dream come true. No getting stuck in rush-hour traffic, no spending evenings at the office, working at your own leisure, the way you want to… the advantages seem to be plentiful.

Further, many successful companies around the world are moving towards a remote-working approach, allowing workers to carry out their duties from home or elsewhere, without having to regularly report to the office. The new approach has been disrupting traditional work models, as it showed better results in terms of work-life balance, higher productivity and workers’ happiness.

But, while working from home seems to have many advantages, a new study suggests that it can also have some negative impacts.


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The study, Networking anytime anywhere: The effects on the world of work, was released Wednesday by the United Nations International Labour Organisation and Eurofund, a private sector partner, and recommends how to address such work-life disparities. It is based on interviews with workers and experts in ten European Union states, Argentina, Brazil, India, Japan and the US.

“This report shows that the use of modern communication technologies facilitates a better overall work-life balance,” Jon Messenger, co-author of the joint report, said in a statement.

Teleworking “blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, depending on the place of work and the characteristics of different occupations, Messenger said.


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The data noted that people who work from home or are engaged in teleworking have the tendency to work longer hours and have higher levels of stress as a result of overlapping paid work and personal life.

As telework becomes more prominent, so too is the need to disconnect in order to separate paid work and personal life, with France and Germany beginning to look at arrangements at the company level, and at existing and new legislation, such as the “right to be disconnected” (le droit à la déconnexion) in the most recent revision of the French Labour Code.

Having noted all of the above, the report distinguishes between home-based teleworkers who enjoy better work-life balance and “high mobile” workers who face a higher risk of negative health and well-being outcomes.


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The report finally recommends promoting formal part-time networking, so employees working from home can maintain ties with their co-workers and improve well-being.