Does Working From Home Negatively Impact Your Health?

Working from home is the dream, isn’t it? The flexibility, comfort of your own surroundings and ability to alter your hours as you please is a big temptation for many of us. Why wouldn’t you want to work from home? You won’t need to face that dreaded 6am alarm, ghastly commute and having to stand for an hour on a train which costs you £500 per month. The advantages are never-ending. Well, so it seems at first glance.

Work from home

A study by Timothy Golden revealed a different perspective on the matter. The findings highlighted that working from home can have a negative effect on both your physical and mental health. One area the study particularly picked upon was the ability for employees to balance work and personal life. The findings suggest that home workers actually struggle to differentiate and establish what home life is and what work life is. Other findings include mental fatigue as employees who work from home often find it hard to ‘switch off’. So does the good outweigh the bad? Let’s investigate…

The Positives:

  • NO commute! Hoorah, the days of waiting for delayed trains are over not to mention the expenditure. £500 for a monthly ticket felt like daylight robbery.
  • Flexible working hours that fit around your personal schedule, which means a quick Netflix catch-up over breakfast (only joking…).
  • Less distractions from co-workers, and less work that is usually passed down to your shoulders!
  • If you’re a freelancer then that means no rental costs which saves a LOT of money. Especially in cities such as London, renting can be expensive, one office recently sold for the record breaking value of £185 per square foot – yikes!
  • You’re in a familiar, comfortable working environment – and your couch is really comfy.

The Negatives:

  • If you’re an employee of a company but you’re working from home then you might start to feel alienated. There’s a big possibility you’ll be left out from many decisions that are made in-house.
  • You can’t delegate to others! Sure, you’ll avoid work being passed onto you, but what about the work you want to pass onto others?
  • There’s no quick second opinion, sometimes we need to discuss ideas and bounce of off one another, when you’re working home alone it’s just you.
  • Work life and personal life begin to crossover. When do you stop working? Do you take a lunch? It’s hard to differentiate the two when your work life is based from home.
  • Your productivity levels might take a hit. Working from home is comfy, but maybe just a little too comfy? Sweatpants and the sofa don’t scream success and efficiency.
  • Whilst you’re saving money on your train ticket or fuel, you might notice your utility bills begin to creep up. After all, you’re going to need that heating switched in on mid-December!
  • It can be very isolating. Spending too much time on your own isn’t healthy, we need regular social interaction with other human beings. A 2010 study found that spending too much time alone is just as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Eek.

As we can see, the negatives do overweigh the positives of working from home. That ‘dream’ does have a fair few downfalls. It is worth bearing in mind however, that everybody’s personal situation is different. If you’re making the decision to work from home you should have a thorough chat with your boss about how this will work, including meetings and important decision making. How will you fit into this? An agreement should be drawn up between the both of you, and perhaps even discuss the possibility of working half the week from home and half in the office. A combination of the two might produce better results than solely working remotely.

If you’re a freelancer or work alone then much of your final decision will come down to a matter of cost, and whether you can afford to rent an office or studio space. Weigh out your options and consider under what conditions you are most efficient! It might be a case of trial and error but the pros and cons are most definitely worth considering in some detail.

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