When your employer brings up the subject of work flexibility, it’s usually a major win. Why wouldn’t it be?
Imagine waking up way past breakfast, still making it for a lazy brunch, and then working in your bed curled up with a hot cuppa—all at your own time.
Work flexibility or ‘telecommuting’ is a rising trend amongst millennials, with a 2018 Randstad survey saying that this is a major criterion when they do look for a job.
However, while working from home may sound like an ideal situation for many of us, it’s not always the case.
If practised wrongly, work flexibility could actually lead to increased levels of work related stress and other major obstacles.
(And speaking of stress, if you don’t feel like reading today, watch this video instead for a quick summary of the article.)
1. You’re on the job 24/7
Flexible hours may sound great on paper, but adapting to it is a different story.
Work flexibility equals no set working hours. There’s no waking up at 9 and leaving at 5—which would at least give you some semblance of balance for you to time and organise your workload.
Rather, working from home means you have the responsibility to always be connected, or else. If anything, you need to be more responsive and take on a heavier load.
“In some cases, you have to be even more productive to alleviate your employer from wondering if you’re doing any work or not,” explained Derek Toh, CEO and founder of millennial-centric job-seeking platform WOBB, in an interview with Vulcan Post.
As it becomes harder to disconnect from the workplace, no doubt this leads to adverse effects for your physical and mental health.
2. You get really lonely
“I don’t see my co-workers aside from emails and texts, and even then, we only talk about work. That’s what you miss out on when you’re in my position.”
This is what Timothy, a content writer who has been working from home for around 2 months, told us.
Clinical psychologist Ryan Hopper told Huffington Post that not having an office to show up to leaves out everyday interactions with co-workers.
It’s hard to place emphasis on the value of social interaction when you’re around co-workers all the time, so it’s easy to take this for granted.
However, face-to-face interactions don’t get to happen a lot when you’re working from home.
Combine this with the knowledge that your other friends and family members might also be busy with their own office jobs, you might not be getting the human interaction everyone needs to live a happy, well adjusted life.
3. Your bed becomes stressful
Working from the comfort of your own bed and its sheets might sound perfect—for the first couple of weeks or so.
One of the biggest disadvantages of working from home is the toll that it takes on your sleep cycle and mental health.
According to research by Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine, keeping computers, TVs and work materials in the room increases your artificial light exposure; this worsens the mental association between the bedroom and sleep.
Ellia, a content writer who has been working from home for over 1 year, shared with us that she’s reached a point where her bed has become the default space to work, and moving away from it relaxes her more.
In turn, this might throw you off your regular schedule, or in extreme cases, give you a nasty bout of insomnia each night.
4. You get left out of discussions
Think about this as the ultimate case of FOMO (‘fear of missing out’, for those of you who aren’t cool enough for slang).
At work, you’re constantly involved in discussions, meetings, scrum or just getting overall feedback from your employers and colleagues.
All of this is essential to working with more productivity and producing better results at the end of the day.
Working from home, on the other hand, still allows you some means of virtual communication and messaging—but it’s simply not the same.
What happens if you’re not immediately available for an impromptu meeting? Or if any decisions need to be made on the spot, and no one really has the time to sit down and schedule a conference call?
Either way (and despite communication still being possible), there’s a huge chance of you getting left out from the day-to-day discussions that are very much vital to your work.
5. You’re easily distracted
When you make your home your workspace, it becomes easy to get carried away thinking of all the other tasks that need to be done around the house.
You may fall into the trap of ‘fake productivity’ where you’re tempted to clear out your desk today, or finally get around to washing your sheets, tidying up your room, etc.
This looks and feels like you’re doing something, but it’s the complete opposite of the work you’re supposed to be completing.
At the end of the day, when you realise you haven’t actually gotten any work done, you start to finish off tasks at a maddening, panicked pace—which might eventually result in a weak quality of work.
Should you work from home?
Working from home isn’t for everyone.
But at the end of the day, it’s really about how different individuals perform under the various environments they’re in.
Do you benefit from more supervision and a fixed schedule? Or do you work better on your own time and discipline?
When you figure out the answers to these questions, it wouldn’t matter if you’re working from home, back in the office, a library or a café—you’ll be performing at your peak.
- You can read more about other work culture pieces we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: pxhere