Working from Home May Lead to More Stress, Study Reveals

By Lisa Franchi on February 17, 2017

Working from home may appear like a better way to earn money. It gives you a great opportunity to earn more without the hassle of commute and noisy officemates. But there’s another side of the coin. According to a new study, working remotely can lead to unpaid overtime, insomnia, and stress.

The report, carried out by the United Nations International Labour Organization, studied the impact of working remotely, with technological advances continuing to revolutionise conceptions of the workplace. 

Looking at the data from 15 countries, the researchers examined employees who regularly work at home, highly mobile people constantly working in different locations and those who split time between an office and another site. They found that employees were more productive while outside of a conventional office but noted it also brought risks of "longer working hours, higher work intensity and work-home interference." 

All the three groups reported higher stress levels and more incidents of insomnia than those who always work at their employer’s premises. For instance, 41 per cent of highly mobile employees said they felt some degree of stress, a figure that was 25 per cent for office workers.  

A full 42 per cent of people who always work from home or from multiple locations reported suffering from insomnia, compared to 29 per cent for people who work at their employer’s site. 

Overall, there were clear risks linked to "the encroachment of work into spaces and times normally reserved for personal life," the report suggests. 

Researchers recommend employers to try letting staff work offsite part time. "Two to three days working from home seems to be that sweet spot", he said.

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