Making Working From Home Actually Work
Boundaries Blur Between Work and Life
Boundaries between work and life for those now forced to do their jobs at home are, in many cases, nonexistent. Initial predictions about the effects of the pandemic anticipated that flexibility could allow for opportunities to embrace new hobbies with the time saved in not commuting to a physical office. These predictions, for the most part, were wishful thinking. Employees in the US are, on average, logging three more hours per day at work than they were before the pandemic, according to service provider NordVPN. The US has seen the greatest spike in hours worked of all the countries the provider has tracked.
Without a commute to help demarcate when the day officially starts and ends, a clear distinction of which hours are for work and which are not, has vanished. Though people are waking up later in the morning, they are also working and consuming media online later into the night. VPN provider Surfshark reports usage spikes late at night that didn’t exist six weeks ago before the pandemic set in.
Burnout Risk is Real
It’s true some companies have reported increases in productivity, including JPMorgan (JPM) and IT consulting firm Publicis Sapient (PUBGY), as clients are more reachable and the distractions of an office aren’t at play.
Working from home, however, brings its own distractions. The pressure to be productive despite these distractions can contribute to employee burnout—consistently elevated stress levels that take a toll on both mental and physical health. A survey by Eagle Hill Consulting earlier this month indicated that about 45% of employees report feeling burned out.
Getting work done right now is especially difficult for those with children at home, which is two-thirds of married couples in the US. Many parents are doing their jobs and becoming their children’s teachers as schools remain closed.
Staying Healthy at Home
Employees can also regain some control through concerted efforts. Ben Fanning, author of “The Quit Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love Without Quitting,” advises employees to clarify expectations with their bosses. Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University, Vanessa Bohns emphasizes the importance of establishing clear boundaries, and suggests defining a cut-off time each day for when work stops. She also recommends changing into different clothes for non-work time to physically signal a new part of the day.
Primary care physician Dr. Saju Mathew advises creating different zones at home for different activities, if possible. He also says it’s important to take regular breaks and move around. Standing up at least once an hour and walking around or stretching can help maintain both mental and physical health.
Turning to those who have been working from home since long before the pandemic could also be helpful. Paul Kvinta, a freelance journalist who’s worked from home for more than 20 years admits, “I pace when I talk on the phone. When I have long phone interviews, or even if I’m just chatting with whomever, I will literally walk laps in the house. I’m not sure if I could pull that off if I was in an office setting.” Despite the challenges of working from home, people across the country are finding creative ways to make it through.
Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.