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Is Work From Home Making You Sick?

Representative image.

Representative image.

Researchers revealed that being online & offline lines almost always gets blurred. With your easy access to work, you end up working more than your counterpart in office.

Is work from home making you Sick? by Mr. Sitender Sehrawat Motivational speaker and life coach.

Attending a Company conference call while making white sauce pasta for your spouse or getting a head massage while you send an email updating your supervisor? Sounds appealing right? Let's not get too excited already. While work from home has its own perks, the cost we pay inadvertently always outruns the perks.

A study done by Swiss company revealed that 70% of professionals work from home at least once a week while 53% work remotely for half of the week. It's becoming increasingly popular. After all, it has fair advantages for both Employers & Employees. But let's look at the flip side for the Employers first.

The Positive Side

A Scottish bank in Gurgaon spends between 2-3 lacs per workstation. Possibly twice or thrice of the salary of the employee occupying that workstation. That 'a significant amount of saving if that employee is working remotely and it doesn't end here. Transportation, administration, energy & other cost associated with that one workstation contributes significantly to the company's cost reduction program.

Social Gain

We all know the amount of pollution we do by work-related travel. No matter what position do we have in our companies, we are equally liable to take responsibility for protecting our environment. In the past few days since lockdown, satellite images have shown significant improvement in AQI(Air Quality Index). Air is again breathable.

The Impact

Bigger organizations run with their core values and their embedded culture. The technology revolution allows employees to virtually work from anywhere in the world but also scatters its workforce making it difficult for the employees to honor the core values of the Organization. Productivity is derived from teamwork, motivation, and collaboration. It doesn't really work well when we all are working from different parts of the world virtually connected. Another aspect is when we are remotely connected, we talk when we need to. That leaves an immense void for ideas to prosper because you are no longer talking during lunch, you no longer share pop-up ideas you get while in the lift or crossing someone in the hallway. It's a huge aspect that may get overlooked while choosing financial gains. But let's focus on you, companies will eventually choose what's good for them.

Let's look at all the perks of working from home.

Let's admit, no one likes to work under the nose of their bosses. We all love freedom, flexibility and own rules to work, a pleasant escape from 3 hours of a daily commute, more time with family, no work-related distraction. Work from home or working remotely gives you all of that. But are there any strings attached with all the perks that come with WFH? Let's find out.

Work From Home is not for everyone

The biggest cost that we inadvertently pay for flexibility is a hit on our mental health.

While it's a blessing for disabled people and working moms or single parents. Researchers revealed that being online & offline lines almost always gets blurred. With your easy access to work, you end up working more than your counterpart in office. A bigger concern is that the psychological toll associated with this setup is often discovered too late. But we have an opportunity here to maintain an army level discipline and stop letting it impact your mental health. It's time we become more resilient to work-related stress. Practice mindfulness and concentration.

Relationship Conflicts

Let's admit, the world is not perfect and there aren't sweet family relations everywhere. If you already have a work-family conflict, working from home is likely to make it worse if not dealt with patience. Your parents might be watching a movie on TV, or talking on the phone too loud, kids might be noisy while you were on a conference call, all these distractions might make you prone to get irritated and frustrated. But understand they are not the intruders here, we have started working from their territory. It's we who need to adjust and harness the opportunity to make the relations better. Remember It's perfectly all right if your boss heard your dog barking in the background or your parents talking on the phone. He or she might also have some kind of noise in the background that's beyond their control.

The Cost of Flexibility

Imagine if there is no fixed time for you to report to work. Wouldn't you snooze your alarm a few times and find more reasons to stay in bed than to wake up? Most of us would. Many of us don't do things until we have to. The flexibility that comes with Work From Home culture might hit your discipline. You're more likely to procrastinate and leave things for later if not tomorrow. Researches suggest that not sticking to a schedule and procrastinating may impact your life in the long run while you sleep. So make a schedule, practice self-discipline, be your own commander and follow your own rules. You don't want anxiety, work-related stress, self-criticism as a result of poor self-management. Do you?

Social Isolation

Most of us thrive social connectivity, emotional support from colleagues & motivation to advance our careers. Corporations demand higher productivity, reducing cost and an approaching recession might enforce the most frequent work from home setup. But working from home in social isolation, with no visible body language emails and chats might be misunderstood as rude or unprofessional, there are more than a few issues to deal with. Keeping yourself motivated and being conscious is the key to overcome such issues. Self-education about stress is a must. Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. An absolute definition of stress is "Stress is the experience that happens when the demands in front of us outweigh the resources. From an evolutionary perspective, stress is considered the body's innate capacity to self-preserve by staving off harm."

To summarise practice a few things and you can unlock a work-life full of flexibility, freedom, and rewards.

Practice self-discipline.

Draw a fine line between when you are online and when to be offline. 'Always online' mode will induce negative stress and psychologically hamper your productivity. Practice meditation and resilience.

Learn patience and improve your relations with family.

Be more aware of your mental health.

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