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Is Work Your Happy Place?

Is Work Your Happy Place?
New research shows that men and women feel more stressed out at home than when they are at work.


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People are more stressed at home

People are more stressed at home

Researchers tested the cortisol levels of workers during the workday and on weekends and found the cortisol levels lower when the person was at work than when he or she was home.

The fact that stress levels go down when people are at work may indicate that there is something at work that is good for you.



The stress gap between home and work

In a study, men over all reported being happier at home than at work, while women were happier at work than at home.

This speaks of the fact that women have more to do at home at the end of a workday and less leisure time. The extra stuff is like a second shift. There is something about combining work and family that makes a home less of a happy place.



Our culture of work

Our culture claims that work is unavoidable and natural. The idea that the world can be freed from work, wholly or in part, has been suppressed for as long as capitalism has existed.

Exploring the abolition of work

  • In 1885, socialist William Morris proposed that in the factories of the future, employees should work only four hours a day.
  • In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that advances in technology would lead to an age of leisure where people might work 15 hours a week.
  • Since the early 2010s, these ideas have been developed further, creating a growing critique of work as an ideology, and exploring alternatives to work.
  • Post-work offers enormous promises: In a life of much less work, life would be calmer, more equal, more communal, more pleasurable, more thoughtful, more politically engaged, more fulfilled.

Work ideology

The work ideology is not natural nor very old.

  • Before the modern era, all cultures thought of work as a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Once the modern work ethic was established, working patterns started to shift. Between 1800 and 1900, the average working week shrank from 80 hours to 60 hours, and in the 1970s to roughly 40 hours.
  • In 1979, Bernard Lefkowitz related in his book that people who had given up their jobs reported feelings of "wholeness." During the same period, because wages were high enough, it became possible for most people to work less.
  • During the 80s, work ideology was reimposed by aggressively pro-business governments who were motivated by a desire for social control.
  • By the early 21st century, the work culture seems inescapable.

    Social jet lag

    A term describing the difference between people’s sleep schedules on workdays and free days. It highlights the difference between how they’d like to structure their days and ...

    4 Types of Sleeper based on Chronotype

    • Bear:  good sleepers with internal body clock that tracks the rise & fall of the sun. 50% of the population. 
    • Wolf: people who prefer to stay up late. 15-20% of the population.
    • Lion:  classic morning people. You read about them in all the productivity articles. 15-20% of the population.
    • Dolphin: light sleepers, who frequently get diagnosed with insomnia. 10% of the population. 

    Psychological Effects of Working from Home

    • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
    • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...

    Symptoms of Depression

    • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
    • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
    • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
    • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
    • Increased cravings for food.
    • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
    • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
    • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
    • Avoiding people.

    Take Care of Your Mental Health

    ...while working from home:

    • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
    • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
    • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
    • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
    • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.