Think that working from home is one of the best perks of any job? Well, it may be time to think again.
Many employers and employees believe that working from home is a great way to boost productivity, have a flexible schedule, and spend more time with family. However, a new study, titled “Working Anytime, Anywhere: The Effects On The World of Work,” shows that working from the comfort of a couch can lead to excess stress and lack of sleep.
The United Nations put together the study in order to look at exactly what happens to those who work from home by simply taking the pulse of workers in 15 countries. They found that a whopping 41% of highly-mobile workers reported some degree of stress and multiple incidents of insomnia when they signed onto work outside the traditional nine-to-five work schedule. Comparatively, only 25% of those who work solely in the office reported the same levels of stress and sleep problems.
The U.S. was included in this study, as a full half of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telecommuting. The survey shows that Americans, in particular, are quite hard on themselves no matter where they’re working — 42% of American teleworkers and 29% of office workers feel an ample amount of stress every day on the job.
Senior research officer for the U.N. and co-author of the report Jon Messenger explains to Fox Business, “The U.S. seems to be much further down the road to ‘anytime, anywhere work’ than most [of] the other countries that we studied. Of course, telework/telecommuting was born in California back in the 1970’s, so maybe that’s not so surprising.”
Interestingly enough, this attitude of working wherever and doing whatever it takes to get the job done comes from California, the state known nationwide for taking a laid back approach to life. However, it seems that the massive technology startups that began in Silicon Valley in the 1970s not only brought a whole new industry to our nation but an interesting method of viewing how we work as well.
The study’s findings also go to show that there is a very special balance between working from home and going into the office. Many U.N. researchers believe that going to the office a few times a week is incredibly important for that crucial face-to-face interaction.
In addition, this study shed some light on the demographics of the workforce. Millennials, the generation that never seems to be taken seriously in the professional world, now makes up the largest share of the workforce. And even though they may enjoy the perks of working from home, 91% of Millennials stay at a job for less than three years. Is this because they are lazy or simply don’t want to work? That doesn’t seem to be the case. They are actually quite ambitious and have been proven not to stick with jobs that they aren’t 100% happy with.
So, in an attempt to attain more Millennials and employees as a whole, forward-thinking employers are setting up programs that enforce mandatory downtime. “Partial teleworking” appears to maximize health benefits while preventing isolation and burnout.
Who knew that seeing coworkers a few times a week could allow you to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night? A little food for thought for the next time you head into the office, no?