The dark side of teleworking

by Cameron Edmond11 Jul 2013

While teleworking has its advantages for many employees and employers alike, it can also cause isolation, decimation of the work-life balance, too many distractions and additional costs, a new report has found.

Other side effects of isolation from co-workers can be the lack of opportunities to brainstorm ideas and solve problems as a team, resulting in an overall drop in productivity.

The primary driver of teleworking is its allowance of a work-life balance. In working from home, individuals are able to have an active role in the day-to-day running of their household and can set their own hours. However, the downside of this is employees can find themselves unable to stop working – the boundaries between work life and home life are destroyed rather than altered.

“Being on call – people seem to think you are available at any time, including your days off,” a respondent said.

Additionally, household distractions can dilute productivity and focus, with 14% indicating teleworking had resulted in too many distractions relating to household tasks.

Other factors that were less common but still raised as concerns included self-motivation, lower income, cost of resources, and the perception that work from home was not truly work.

Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) issues were also of a concern to some respondents, primarily surrounding the ergonomics of their home office. Not having a properly set up desk, or a desk at all, can result in bad posture and worse problems down the track.

Despite these issues, a number of respondents still enjoy working from home, with 1-in-5 indicating they experienced no disadvantages from doing so. As such, teleworking should not be ruled out, but both the strengths and weaknesses must be understood.

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