non-traditional jobs

Work-from-home culture has its perks, but leads to higher stress levels: UN report

Teleworking involves no travel time and leads to a better work-life balance, but it also blurs the line between a job and personal life, the study found.

A new study on the emerging work-from-home culture has found that while the practice comes with its perks, it also has its downsides. Highlighting both, the report says that the use of laptops, smartphones and other technology to telework can be convenient – flexibility in work timings and no travel time – but can also lead to higher stress and longer work hours.

While it can lead to a better overall work-life balance and higher productivity, teleworking also “blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, depending on the place of work and the characteristics of different occupations”, said Jon Messenger, coauthor of the study titled Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work.

The analysis was carried out by the United Nations International Labour Organisation and Eurofound, a European Union agency that looks into working conditions. The study is based on interviews with workers and experts in India, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, the United States and 10 EU member states.

People who work from home tend to work longer hours and suffer from higher levels of stress, which has necessitated the need to be able “to disconnect” to separate personal life from paid jobs, according to the study. Teleworking also does away with the concept of personal space and contact with colleagues.

To overcome the ill effects of working from home, the report suggested that companies promote part-time teleworking to allow employees to remain connected with their colleagues as well as enjoy the convenience of working from home.

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Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.

Play

It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.