Düsseldorf (dpa / tmn) - From the breakfast table to the workplace, from dad to employee, from private to business - and back again. The goal of many people who work in their home office is to better combine private life and work. In fact, working from home can have many advantages.

"If I have the opportunity to do my home office, it is an opportunity to increase my flexibility, to meet my private and professional obligations more easily and to reduce stress, for example by commuting," says Prof. Conny Antoni, occupational psychologist at the University of Trier ,

The shortage of time is a stressful factor for many people. Time can be saved with home office. However, it must be ensured that a new stressor is not added to the home office.

When there is no closing time in the home office

This can be, for example, constant availability. Experts such as Ufuk Altun from the Institute for Applied Work Sciences (Ifaa) therefore recommend communicating the rules of the home office in advance and writing them down. This may include fixed accessibility windows. In some companies, for example, the e-mail server is switched off after 6 p.m. or e-mails are not forwarded during the vacation time of the employee.

Without agreement, the motivation evaporates quickly

If the home office issue is not approached in a structured manner, this could lead to employees overestimating themselves. And: losing sight of the boundaries between work and leisure. "According to studies, companies that have not made any regulations and agreements keep finding that it does not lead to motivation, but rather to demotivation of the employees," says Altun.

Working and recovery times are partly regulated by law. In contrast to the so-called mobile work, the legislator places very specific demands on working hours, occupational safety and data protection in the "home office". Ufuk Altun recommends that the terminology be clarified beforehand. "Are we talking about home office or mobile work or teleworking? If this is not clear, it can lead to ambiguities."

In contrast to "mobile work", in which the employee decides how long and where he works, "working hours, rest periods and maximum working hours must also be observed in the home office," says Nathalie Oberthür, specialist lawyer for labor law.

Employees should pay particular attention to social security law, advises Oberthür. "Accident insurance coverage is limited in the home office. If you fell down the stairs on the way to the toilet, you would not be insured in the home office," explains the expert. "That's why I always find it very important that employees in the home office have accident insurance."

Spontaneous exchange promotes ideas

Some people value work without having to talk to colleagues or make distracting phone calls. Others suffer from the social isolation that home work can bring.

"The extent to which social isolation is connected to this depends largely on whether I am constantly in my home office or only work once or twice a week from home," explains Antoni. There are also spontaneous discussions in the office. "You exchange information and this can also generate ideas. These spontaneous interactions are much more difficult in the home office."

And something else could change: the perception of colleagues. "If you work in a distributed manner, it may be that the contribution of the individual to the team becomes less visible. That can mean that colleagues ask themselves what he is doing at home," Antoni points out. Clear task allocations and collaboration software could help.

Institute for the future of work