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WFH: Creating a healthy Environment when Working from Home

The benefits and drawbacks of Work from Home (WFH) and Remote Working opportunities.

a man sitting in bed working  on his laptop

WFH - Working from Home, can come with advantages and disadvantages at the same time. In the past few years, many organizations have adapted to remote working options. Remote working options provided employees flexibility to work from home, which in return allowed employees to reduce transport expenditure, save travel time, and enhance their productivity. However, working from home is a double-edged sword and does have its drawbacks, such as often leading to decreased motivation and a poor work-life balance for the employees. 

Whether you have a hybrid work setting or a fully remote one, you should work towards creating efficient systems that help you enhance your productivity such as adopting an efficient time management strategy, and a healthy work-life balance. 

According to an article published by Harvard Business Review, Research has shown performance benefits. A 2015 study by Nicholas Bloom and coauthors found that when employees opted into work-from-home policies, their productivity increased by 13%. When, nine months later, the same workers were given a choice between remaining at home and returning to the office, those who chose the former saw even further improvements: They were 22% more productive than before the experiment. This suggests that people should probably determine for themselves the situation (home or office) that fits them best”.

However, that may not be the case for everyone. Unless you are an introvert and are very focused on working by yourself, working from home can sometimes feel isolating.

In today’s article, we will discuss some of the benefits and challenges employees can face while working from home, and how they and their organizations can overcome them.

Reduced Expenditure 

The most significant benefit of working from home is reduced expenditure for the organizations and employees. Organizations are saving costs on their real estate and day-to-day expenses, and employees are saving transportation costs and time. Remote working allows employees to move to suburbs to reduce their housing expenses, as living closer to work is not a primary concern. Furthermore, it will enable the employees to have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, which is quite attractive to people who are opting to work from home. 

Flex Schedule 

Working remotely allows employees to work at their own pace, and they can create their own schedule as long as they meet the deadlines, and their hours can be flexible. This is a great benefit, especially for those in creative roles, as they are not time-bound and can work according to their inspirations. The only challenge here is having great self-discipline and holding yourself accountable and responsible for your duties and tasks.

Increased Job Opportunities 

Organizations benefit from remote work because it allows them to have a wider talent pool. Employees on the other hand benefit from having more work opportunities options in small cities, rural towns, and suburbs. This does impact the socio-economic environment positively and enhances economic growth overall. 

Remote work has a positive impact on the environment as well. As the reduced commute decreases the transport/ environmental and noise pollution. Particularly in cities where the primary mode of transportation is cars instead of public transport. 

However, this may only be a suitable option for some employees. There are a few challenges of working remotely that organizations and employees should be aware of:

Reduced Social Interaction

Not having an office environment can impact some employees’ efficiency and mental health as they feel excluded from the social element. Especially those who do not live with their families, and their work plays a significant role in their day-to-day routine. This could promote feelings of isolation and impede productivity. 

In a remote setting, employers should always provide the employees with opportunities to connect with their colleagues. This could mean organizing regular team meetings, designing forums where employees can interact with each other, and planning regular check-in meetings with each employee to discuss their progress/ challenges and provide them with needed support. 

Employees should create a healthy social life structure outside of their organization and engage in activities and communities of their interest to fill this gap.

Information Flow 

Due to working in isolation and in different time zones, the flow of information can be disrupted, creating misunderstandings among peers. When working remotely, ensure the implementation of excellent systems to promote a smooth and efficient flow of information. Use software such as Trello, Google Docs, Slack, Google Chat, etc. to increase communication efficiency and reduce the chances of errors.

Furthermore, schedule regular update meetings with the team to track progress.

Loss of Motivation

Employees sometimes feel demotivated working alone, cut out from their colleagues and the office environment. Employers should provide employees with mentoring and guidance opportunities to keep them motivated. Mentoring and coaching help employees create a structure in their routines and stay on track with their goals. 

This can also help them work on their problem-solving skills and deal with their work-related challenges innovatively and positively. 

Work-Life Balance 

When working from home, lines can be easily blurred between the work-life balance. I have personally worked with many clients who were working from home and ended up working 10 to 12 hours every day or longer, sometimes leading up to swear signs of burnout and an out-of-proportional work-life balance.

This is why it is essential for you as a professional to set and abide by healthy boundaries between your personal and professional lives to maintain a healthy balance between them.  

Loss of Movement

When working from an office environment, you can move around, whether to grab a cup of coffee or walk to the fax machine to take the printout. While working from your desk at home, employees work from the seat for long periods without much movement. This results in poor posture, stiff muscles and joints, and a chance of weight gain. Be mindful of moving away from your desk every 2 hours. Whether you go to your kitchen to grab a glass of water or you get up from your desk to stretch your body. 

Furthermore, incorporate healthy snacks such as fruits or veggie sticks if you crave munchies instead of choosing unhealthy snacks such as packet chips, cookies, and chocolates. Check your coffee intake and choose decaffeinated drinks or green tea as a substitute. 

Working from home comes with many benefits if you plan to set up a mindful routine for yourself that impacts your efficiency and mental health positively.

If you are a HerMeNow participant or alumni, book your free coaching session now through the HerMeNow website

portrait of Anam Anjum

Anam Anjum Wellness Consultant +971 52 629 9656


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