Work from home leads to higher stress levels: UN report

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Work from home culture has found that while the practice comes with its perks, it also has its downsides. Highlighting both, the report says that the use of laptops, smartphones and other technology to telework can be convenient – flexibility in work timings and no travel time – but can also lead to higher stress and longer work hours.

While it can lead to a better overall work-life balance and higher productivity, teleworking also “blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, depending on the place of work and the characteristics of different occupations”, said Jon Messenger, co-author of the study titled Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work.

The analysis was carried out by the United Nations International Labour Organisation and Eurofound, a European Union agency that looks into working conditions. The study is based on interviews with workers and experts in India, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, the United States and 10 EU member states.

People who work from home tend to work longer hours and suffer from higher levels of stress, which has necessitated the need to be able “to disconnect” to separate personal life from paid jobs, according to the study. Teleworking also does away with the concept of personal space and contact with colleagues.

To overcome the ill effects of working from home, the report suggested that companies promote part-time teleworking to allow employees to remain connected with their colleagues as well as enjoy the convenience of working from home.