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Can Working From Home Affect Your Health?

Can Working From Home Affect Your Health?

Have you ever considered working from home? It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Ditching that horrendous 6 am alarm, saying goodbye to the dreaded commute, and having the comfort of your own sofa home office in the process. I mean, who doesn’t want to be able to earn money whilst wearing sweatpants? Sounds dreamy.

Having considered working from home for a considerable amount of time, I decided to do a little research, which led me to this post you’re reading right now. Apparently, working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and previous studies have shown that it can actually have a detrimental effect on your health. I haven’t been this disappointed since The OC got cancelled.

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To work from home or to not work from home? Let’s weight it up.

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Working From Home: The Positives

  • You can switch off that 6 am alarm, the one that leaves a sick feeling in your stomach every day of the week.
  • You can take a long, peaceful breakfast. You know what, you can even use this extra time to become a health god or goddess and whip up banana pancakes instead of cereal.
  • You get to save money! If you’re a freelancer or run your own business, then you can save a ton of money on renting office space. It’s expensive, a UK property agent recently reported that one office space in London recently sold for £185 per square foot — Yes. Per square foot. Ouch.
  • You’re in a comfy home environment. No more sitting at a desk for hours on end, no more pins and needles or stiff legs. You are free!
  • You can ignore co-workers requests. Kidding, well maybe. If you work in an office amongst other workers, then working from home can mean less of other peoples’ work passed down to you. Win.
  • You can choose your own hours. Want to skive off the afternoon to meet your pal for lunch? No problem, you can just make up the hours in the evening, whilst watching Netflix. Prison Break re-runs are great for “background noise.”
  • Possibly the best thing ever is saying goodbye to that dreaded morning commute. So long, fellow commuters! No more cramped train carriages, no more waiting for buses, no more sitting in traffic. Your new commute is from bedroom to lounge — perfect.

Working From Home: The Negatives

  • So you know how I said it’s great that you don’t get co-workers dumping their work on you? Well, what about that work that you want to delegate to someone else? Damn.
  • You lose out on second opinions. You might be able to get your partner or roommate’s view on things, but ultimately it can be positive to have likeminded individuals around you all working towards the same goal.
  • You might start to confuse your work and personal life. It’s a fine line, and working from home can start to cross it. When do you call it a day? Do you put more hours in because you’re at home? Do you take a lunch break? So many questions.
  • It can be quite isolating. Spending a lot of time on your own can be unhealthy for your mind. As humans, it’s important that we spend time interacting with other humans (as tempting as it is to not).
  • There’s a chance that your productivity might slump. Apparently, working in sweats does not a productive day make. Shocking, right?
  • So you’re saving money on petrol or transport tickets, which is great. But, you might want to think about how your bills may be affected with you being at home all day, every day.
  • If you work for an organization, then you might start to be left out of decision making. If you’re not present, then you could be easily forgotten. So, make sure you keep in touch regularly to avoid this.

There’s a lot to think about — an overwhelming amount, in fact. Of course, all of these points are subjective and much of what counts is dependent on your unique situation. I would recommend finding a balance. That might be working from the office for two days a week to keep in regular contact with colleagues, and working from home for the rest of the week. Alternatively, if you work alone or run your own small company, then why not grab your laptop and take it down to Starbucks? You might not necessarily be striking up conversations, but at least you’ll be around other people, plus the change of scenery might be just what you need!

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Featured photo credit: Stockpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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