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Remote workers are having a hard time unplugging from the office

image credit: Remote work blurs the line between home and office. Credit: David Wagman

DW Keefer's picture
Journalist Independent Journalist and Analyst

DW Keefer is a Denver-based energy journalist who writes extensively for national and international publications on all forms of electric power generation, utility regulation, business models...

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With so many people working from home the line between the ability to “switch off” between home and office can start to blur.

Evidence comes from the UK, where a survey of full-time remote workers revealed that switching off can be a big challenge. Around 40% of remote employees said they struggle to unplug after work hours. Other challenges that were cited included non-work distractions (32%), loneliness (23%) and resolving technical issues (21%).

More than half of working parents said that overworking has caused a strain in their relationships. Data gleaned on UK families revealed the following stats:

  • 48% said working from home has increased the hours they work
  • 47% said the boundaries between work and home have become blurred thanks to technology
  • 44% check their emails or do other work in the evenings
  • 57% said that staying in ‘work mode’ has caused arguments with their partner
  • 54% said that being unable to switch off has caused arguments with their children.

The growing number of people working from home has resulted in an increase in "virtual presenteeism." Around 46% of British survey respondents said they feel more pressure to be available to their bosses and colleagues, and 35% admitted to putting in a day’s work while feeling ill.

Remote workers who have been working while ill cited the following reasons:

  • 40% felt they ‘weren’t sick enough’ to take a day off
  • 26% said their workload is too large to take time off
  • 16% said they are afraid of being made redundant during these uncertain times

One strategy is to literally unplug and disengage from work technology. Online work should be packed away or moved out of your living area to set a clear boundary between "home" and "holiday."

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