UNLIKE Yahoo, who recently revealed they are to stop home-working, many businesses are making moves to increase flexibility for employees to help with work/life balance and support families.
Working from home has many obvious benefits, such as no commuting and less interruptions from colleagues. But if your home is your office, it can sometimes be hard to ‘switch off’ outside of office hours. A study published in the Monthly Labor Review (Profs M Noonan & J Glass: June, 2012) found that employees work between five to seven hours more at home than they would in an office setting.
Home-workers can spend a large part of their evenings thinking about work and succumbing to the temptation to ‘just finish off that project’. Claire Edwards, Talking Therapies Co-ordinator for the Edinburgh-based well-being specialists, resolve, has some practical advice for helping to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap.
“If your work and home life becomes blurred, it is important to have a separate space or room that you work in. Once the day is done, close the door on your home office – out of sight helps greatly with out of mind.”
A common fear among home-workers is that colleagues and managers won’t believe that they are working. Claire tell us: “People working from home often feel the need to prove they are working by sending emails late at night or early in the morning. The irony is that this can have a detrimental impact as the stress of feeling that you must continually prove yourself can make you less productive!”
Claire adds: “To be most effective, home-workers should set boundaries between personal and work time and take regular breaks, just as you should in the office. Again, your productivity can be affected if you don’t allow yourself time to rest and re-charge your batteries.”
Another potential down-side of working from home can be the feeling of isolation and being disconnected from work colleagues.
The ideal solution would be to spend some time working in the office as well as at home but if this is not possible have regular, real-time communication by phone or video chats rather than always relying on e-mail. Employers can also play a role in this by ensuring they have regular catch-ups with remote workers. This will help employees to feel valued and increases motivation.
For advice on how you can stay focussed, work productively and keep mentally strong while managing the competing demands of work and home life, resolve can help. We work closely with our clients to find the solution that will best suit their individual needs. We also provide training for employers on how to spot the signs of stress and the benefits of a mentally healthy workplace.
For further information please visit our website www.resolvescotland.org.uk or call us on 0131 718 6003.
Notes for editors:
resolve is a social enterprise and was set up by Health in Mind with funding from the Enterprise Growth Fund.
Health in Mind is a registered Scottish Charity with over 30 years of experience in providing a range of mental health and well-being services including information, support, training and talking therapies.
The Enterprise Growth Fund is a £6 million Scottish Government Fund. The Fund is making strategic investments in ambitious and enterprising Third Sector organisations enabling them to develop, grow and become more sustainable. It supports third sector organisations to realise their full potential and to make a key contribution to the National Outcomes of the Scottish Government. The Enterprise Growth Fund is managed by the Wise Group with consortium partners CEiS, DSL and Social Value Lab.