Working from home has started to create a “work-life blur”

Coronavirus has turned working from home into the new normal, but what’s been the impact on the mental health of staff?

Working from home has blurred the boundaries between personal and professional life, leaving employees with a “work-life blur”. And in some instances, where both work and life are happening in the same place, the mental health of staff is being left vulnerable.  

The benefits and challenges of homeworking

Reports show that there are a multitude of benefits of working from home. For example, there is no commute and remote working allows employees to think of their day in terms of tasks rather than hours. Thinking of the day in terms of completing tasks is far more motivating than running down the clock in an office to meet the nine-to-five requirements.

Flexibility, however, comes with its own set of problems. Without set working hours, many employees find it hard to switch off. Finishing early may create feelings of guilt, even if all tasks have been completed. Some employees may feel as though they are never entirely at work or never fully away from work. Working from home can affect an employee’s personal life, as they may find themselves frequently checking in with work during leisure time.

How to avoid work-life blur

Despite the problems found with remote working, both employers and employees can take steps to avoid work-life blur.

Set a working day and finish on time: Employers can help by setting reasonable deadlines and not contacting their staff outside of traditional office hours.

Set clear boundaries: Employees also have a responsibility to be firm about their boundaries. Having a separate phone or laptop for work can help to create a sense of separation between the personal and professional world.

Separate work from home: Turning a certain room of the house into an office can also help to reintroduce the physical distinction between work and home.

Melissa Broxton continues: “We need to be mindful that everyone is different, and each employee has different demands. Some thrive in an isolated environment, and others hate it. The flexibility of work and life is going to be important, moving forward”.

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