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Publication Title | Working from home: A double edged sword

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Working from home: a double edged sword
Work and family could be said to be two of the most significant elements of human life (Toyin et al., 2016). Indeed, work/ family balance is one of the most challenging issues facing families in the twenty first century (Walker et al., 2008). The home plays a significant role in promoting and sustaining the well-being of individuals and of society. Friedman (2014, p. 12) highlights that to be effective one needs “to know what matters”. He recommends an exercise called “Four Circles” representing the four domains-“work, home, community and self”. He suggests modifying the sizes of the circles to reflect how much you value each. This helps reflect on the “values, goals, interests, actions and results” cultivated in each area and whether the latter are compatible or opposed to each other.
Technology has had a significant impact on work, making work from home and other locations possible (Grant et al., 2013). Work has turned into an “unbounded activity” to be carried out “anytime and anywhere” (Kurland and Bailyn, 1999). According to Toffler (1980, pp 204-17) the present forms of flexibility have the capacity to convert the pre-industrial cottage into a post- industrial electronic cottage, where people can achieve a balance between work and home. It is often challenging for employees to achieve a work/home balance (Kreiner et al, 2009; Mayo et al., 2011). Health issues and family difficulties can result from conflict between work and home (Grant-Vallone and Ensher, 2011). For employers the consequences of work-home demands can manifest itself in higher levels of employee turnover, absenteeism and less productivity (Allard et al, 2011, Ford et al., 2007). Referring to leaders Groysberg and Abrahams (2014, p. 60) state that “ They’ve discovered through hard experience that prospering in the senior ranks is a matter of carefully combining work and home so as not to lose themselves, their loved ones, or their foothold of success. Those who do this most effectively involve their families in work decisions and activities. They also vigilantly manage their own human capital, endeavoring to give work and home their due- over a period of years, not weeks or days”. Hence the need to understand and support the area of work/home balance better in light of the pivotal role of the home in creating health and well-being for individuals and for society.

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