Does Working From Home Make People Happier?

The Covid-19 pandemic advanced ideas and discussions about working from home and flexible working by years. Being forced to innovate in terms of technology and remote working pushed many businesses to tap into their creative side like never before.

But what about the employees? Has working from home benefitted them or are they desperate to get back to the office? And where do flexible hours fit in?

Do people prefer to work from home?

There’s no single answer to this question. In short, some people prefer to work from home while others hate it. Paul Owen, MD of Sales Talent, spoke out last year about the dangers that extended home working posed to the mental health of extroverts in the sales industry – those who thrive on the company and camaraderie of the office.

But on the flip side, a recent survey by All Things Hair found that 46% of people believe that working from home positively impacted their mental health (compared to just 16% who reported a negative impact).

Interestingly, 14% of All Things Hair respondents reported that “it’s complicated” in response to the impact of home working on their mental health. And this really gets to the nub of the issue – there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to working remotely.

Factors that impact the happiness of home workers

A whole range of factors can impact how happy remote working can make someone. The home working setup is one, from how large the property is to whether it has a home office or other designated workspace. Access to a garden for enjoying screen breaks can also make a major difference.

Family makeup comes into play too. Trying to focus on work when you have young children in the house can be far from easy. However, being at home alone with nobody to interact with all day poses its own challenges as well.

Individual personality is another key factor. Introverts will likely enjoy home working more than extroverts (this is quite the generalization and there will, of course, be exceptions!).

All of this (and myriad other factors) means that home working will be a positive experience for some people and not for others.

Learning to be flexible

Alongside the whole home working debate is the discussion around flexible hours. This was something else that many companies were forced to embrace as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, when workers had to juggle things like home schooling as well as home working.

And it’s something that can benefit workers regardless of whether they continue working from home or prefer to head back to the office.

Working flexible hours can deliver all manner of benefits. It can mean having time to do the school run every day, staggering start and finish times to avoid rush hour travel or the chance to fit in a run or a trip to the gym at a quieter time of day.

Unlike home working, nearly everyone can find some benefit in working flexible hours. As such, while there isn’t a crystal ball to tell what the future will bring, it’s fair to assume that employers might have a harder time getting rid of flexible hours than they will home working!

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