How to Ease Work-From-Home Guilt

Overcompensating for working in sweats by working all hours of the day and night? Here's how to use your newfound flexibility and erase your work-from-home (WFH) guilt.

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By Elizabeth Pearson

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It's probably no surprise that 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home due to the pandemic. Unexpectedly, working from home can trigger feelings of guilt. Work-from-home guilt spirals some employees' emotions into negative feelings about themselves, even causing some to doubt their performance.

COVID has blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives, causing the two worlds to collide daily, resulting in friction from competing demands: homeschooling, parenting, working, spending time with family, with one's significant other, and caring for one's self.

According to the New York Post, and a survey of 2,000 Americans:

- 29% don't take any meal breaks during the workday

- 6 in 10 feel guilty for taking any break during work hours (even if it's to care for their children or themselves)

- 66% feel constantly worried about their productivity and fearful of losing their jobs

Related: How to Put a Fresh Spin on Your WFH Situation

Navigating the competing demands causes some to worry that managers think employees aren't working during the day. As the guilt creeps in, employees choose to work longer hours to counteract the negative feelings. However, a vicious cycle develops. It undermines performance, employee morale, and, for some, creates conflicts at home.

Here are four tips to help educate yourself on why there's actually no need to feel guilty.

You're more productive than you think

Studies show, people who work from home are 47% more productive and that working from home increases productivity by 13%. The growth in performance was attributed to employees being able to:

  • Conduct more calls and meetings per day
  • Increased focus from a quieter, more convenient working environment
  • Taking fewer breaks and sick days

Working from home has gotten easier, and communication software has improved. Surveys taken over the past few months show working from home is producing faster turnaround on projects and increasing efficiency and productivity.

Related: 4 Tips for Launching a Business While Working From Home

You're likely saving your employer money

US employers will save over $30 billion a day for remote work during the pandemic. Any single employer saves about $11,000 a year for every person who works remotely half of the time. Companies will continue to lean on virtual conferencing to conduct meetings and seminars that would have taken place in-person. Bottomline savings has business leaders questioning the need for expensive business trips that would have required hotel stays and a per diem.

Working from home may be here to stay

It's unpredictable when the Coronavirus pandemic will end; therefore, telecommuting statistics show that 38% of the organizations expect remote working policies to remain in place long-term or even permanently.

Related: How to Keep Your Work and Home Life Separate as You Work Remotely

You're saving the Earth

Remote workers could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 tons annually—which is an achievement equivalent to taking nearly 10 million cars off the road. Another perk is that with zero commute, employees are using the extra time for self-care and exercise. Regular exercise is proven to be beneficial for mental and physical health resulting in stress relief. Those who work from home report exercising 30 minutes more during the workweek.

In summary, your working from home is likely proving to be a more productive work environment than the typical office, which may help you have a better work-life balance. Supporting your mental and physical health is something your employer likely wants, and therefore should never be something you feel guilty about.

Elizabeth Pearson

Founder- Elizabeth Pearson Executive Coaching

When Elizabeth Pearson's 15-year career in corporate sales left her unfulfilled and depleted, she decided to bet on herself and start a business. Now, as an executive career coach, she spends her days helping powerhouse women get "unstuck" and rise both spiritually and professionally.

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