Working from home may not be the wonder we had hoped

Are you working from home? If so, you might want to turn off those repeats of Frasier and read a new report from the London School of Economics that suggests you may not be experiencing the life-balancing wonder you first dreamed of.

Working from home, apparently, can leave you socially and professionally isolated. You may also be losing confidence in your skills and showing a decreased ability to interpret information and use it accurately. At least, I think that was the gist. I tried to find a co-worker to clarify, but the cat rebuffed my efforts to schedule a meeting.

So who does work from home? Some professions are not feasibly attempted. Others are ideally suited for it. Many industries cottoned on over the past decade, but the new report suggests both staff and management are growing disillusioned. 

The good points of working from home are not to be sniffed at: no public transport; wearing what you want. But as companies demand staff work longer hours and are always contactable by mobile email, the downsides come into sharper relief.

Other than the feeling that worker bees in the main hive suspect you are simply sitting on the sofa drinking cooking sherry from a teacup or having a quick seven-hour nap, friends and family can also create difficulties. One would not phone up a spouse in their office and ask them to pick up the dry-cleaning/the children/their behaviour in general, but those employed in their own domicile are all too familiar with their workday being treated like free time.

Aside from isolation, the biggest drawback of home-working is it is harder to switch off, literally and figuratively, when you stay in one location. This in turn blurs the lines between working and home time – the division it was meant to balance. This needs to be addressed by employers and workers alike. Perhaps we should all come in for a meeting.

Telegraph, London

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