Curse & blessing from home-office

Why Homeoffice could kill your career and what you can do about it.

You want to work in the home office, too? At first glance this has a lot of advantages. However, working from home can also quickly develop into a real career killer and stress factor. Find out what you should do about it here.

It sounds too good to be true: working relaxed from home and in peace without your colleagues getting on your nerves. Free up his working time. No longer standing in traffic jams or traveling to the office by bus and train forever. Homeoffice is one of the trends on the job market and is now possible in almost 40 percent of German companies. 

And in fact, it's too good to be true: Working from home can have serious disadvantages for you if you do it wrong.

The effects of Homeoffice on your health.

Researchers have found that homeoffice can have negative consequences for your health. Almost 50% of employees who work at least regularly from home complain about sleep disorders. The proportion of employees working in the office is 29 percent. This is still too much, but less than with the employees in the home office.

Working from home also seems to lead to an increased stress level. For example, 41 percent of mobile employees say they have too much stress. For normal office workers, this share is just under 25 percent.

One reason for too much stress: Those who work in the home office produce more overtime. The clear distinction between working time and leisure time is lost. You will then quickly find yourself in a situation in which you "quickly write an e-mail" or accept a telephone call at 11 p.m. even in the evening.

In general, it can be a problem in the home office not to have a regular everyday life anymore. Not only is there no fixed working time, but there is also no spatial separation between work and leisure time. It can therefore be difficult to work in a concentrated way, because after all there are many distractions waiting for you. For example, employees in the home office report that they are distracted by household tasks or other private tasks.

Another problem with working from home can be loneliness. While you are surrounded by colleagues in the office and can also spend breaks together, you are on your own in the home office. It is no longer necessary to leave the apartment for your normal working day. Not only do you have to organize your own work, but you don't have anyone to talk to. In the long run, this social isolation is a problem. If family members are also at home, this may alleviate the problem, but at the same time may lead to more distractions. But these negative consequences for your health don't stop there: Your work in the home office can also be a real career killer.

The home office as a career killer.

The negative effects of homeworking on careers were investigated in a study conducted by the London Business School. And a lot of things came together here.

So home office can lead to a worse performance evaluation, even if the quality of the work is equal to the performance of the employees who are present in the office. It can also happen that homeworkers are promoted less often and their salary increases are lower than those of their colleagues.

The reason for this is relatively simple: In the home office, you simply stand out to the boss much less. While in the office you can draw attention to yourself throughout the day by speaking at meetings, making an excellent presentation, or just having a good joke, contact in the home office is limited to a video call or e-mail. So your boss can judge much worse whether you are suitable for a promotion - you simply lack the social contacts.

Furthermore, you have only limited influence on the tasks assigned to you. In the end, you will be responsible for the projects that nobody else wanted to do. You can't defend yourself, because you're not there when the tasks are distributed.

The prejudices against the home office.

The negative aspects of the home office also arise from the image that some bosses have of working from home. Home workers are often seen as less career-oriented. Some supervisors also share the view that employees outside the office are less productive.

In another international study, 60 percent of the bosses surveyed said that home office was a career killer. 20 percent even said that home office employees should earn less than their colleagues.

What you can do to still work in the home office.

You don't feel like working from home anymore? It doesn't have to be. You can try to soften or bypass the negative aspects of the home office.

Working from home will of course be easier for you if the whole thing is already anchored in the company and you are not the only home worker. It should continue to be precisely regulated how the regular exchange with your colleagues and superiors works. A good organization is essential for this. As with working in the office, you should have precisely defined deadlines and appointments. This will make it easier for your boss to assess your work performance.

In addition, you should be present at the office at least occasionally, for example at important meetings. Here you can convince with your technical knowledge. Also social events like the Christmas party or the colleagues' table in the pub are obligatory dates for you.

And of course you should also take measures to reduce the stress level in your home office. Make sure to discuss with all your business contacts at which times you are available. It would be logical, for example, that you can simply be contacted by e-mail and telephone during office hours. And when you get off work, you leave out your office phone and notebook. This requires an appropriate degree of self-discipline. In order to stay healthy in the home office, you need to have fixed times when you are not working.

In order to be able to work productively, certain routines from the office help you. This includes, for example, not sitting in sweatpants in front of your notebook, but wearing a normal office outfit instead. Besides, you should take a break at the usual times.

Maybe at some point you will reach the point where you have to decide between home office and promotion, because even today you can only do many executive jobs if you are really present in the office. Here you simply have to decide according to your own priorities: Is Homeoffice the right choice for you?