Are you less stressed out at Home or Office?

Many of us live a stressful life, juggling multiple priorities – work, kids, spouse, household chores and the associated chaos. Pressures at home are so much that a research published by the Journal of Science and Medicine last year mentioned that we are less stressed out at work than at home. This is not to say we don’t like being with our spouses or kids or not doing the laundry and other stuff…it just means that our stress levels – as measured by cortisol, a stress hormone – are significantly lower when we are in the office.

I can relate to the study, because my concentration and efficiency levels go up when I am in the office – a point also proven by the researchers. At home, the expectations of my family are high with regards to helping them out in some way. If I am not able to, my own guilt creeps in. The result being I feel pressurized to perform on all accounts. Hence, my performance goes down by not being able to focus on any given task and I feel tense.

Within the genders, research points out, women feel more relaxed at work as compared to men, who consider home just marginally better. And this is understandably so, as women have tasks lined up at home when they return from work – parenting, housekeeping, emotional work of the family, and others. It is not only the work itself, but the associated planning, organizing and keeping track of it all also that adds to the stress. When they are at work, they only have to perform one role.

The reason for men feeling slightly better at home as compared to women is because our responsibilities have hardly changed over the years or decades. Many of us still don’t like doing the laundry (an example post with some humor is here) or even cleaning up after the kids. The result being, our working spouses have taken up considerably more workload.

Considering that both men and women are a lot less stressed out on the weekends – when they are home – than on the weekdays, points out that it is more of a multi-tasking issue than anything else. It’s the juggling across multiple competing tasks that is killing us during weekdays, which is not the case on weekends, when most of us are not working.

The findings are particularly disturbing as high stress levels contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, inflammation and cancer, and many other mental and physical disorders. An earlier research concluded that cortisol can act like a contagion and spread like a virus through the family. It can even alter the DNA in children.

The way to overcome the issue is to make the juggle more manageable. A research funded by the National Institute of Health has found out that a creative workplace policy like Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) can help. It evaluates employees by their performance, not when, where, how or the hours they put in. It has been found to lead to lower stress levels, improved health, mood and employee commitment and loyalty.

91 thoughts on “Are you less stressed out at Home or Office?

  1. A good post Alok. Yes juggling does become difficult when you have to manage expectations at both ends simultaneously. In many offices in India hanging around for long hours is sadly mistaken as the yardstick for productivity, which makes it very difficult for married womenfolk. So I completely agree when you say that people should be measured by performance, not by the no. of hours they put in. Problem arises at higher levels when performance to a large extent depends on how well you manage people around you, the no of hours you need to put in is governed to a large extent by the work hours of all those people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point you have mentioned, of working long hours when we have to manage people.

      In India, especially, people are accustomed to putting in long hours unnecessarily. It’s more of a mindset that if we stay late, we are better performers. That has to change for us to be better off health-wise.

      Thank you for an enlightening comment, Somali.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alok,
    I just wrote a post on importance of de-stressing and I cannot stress this fact enough. Most of it being my first hand experience and working from home, it is pretty difficult to manage stress as expectations and demands are at both fronts. People still do not understand the term working from home and you end up managing and balancing home and work and all those nitty gritties of being a home maker and a professional at the same time.

    Nice post.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. My recommendations:
      1. If you are not good at multitasking, don’t do it. Know yourself and prioritize your tasks.
      2. Better be in office on weekdays, i find it to be very effective and my efficiency level goes up.
      3. Do exercises regularly and sleep at least 8 hrs.

      These should certainly help.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting research. Is it funded by Corporate Groups to motivate us to remain in office for a longer time and to do overtime? Well, jokes apart. It’s an eye opening post on our understanding of stress and company of loved ones. Yes, non meeting of expectation & guilt play a major role in boosting our stress level. All in all, a great post, Alok.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lately i have come to the conclusion that multi-tasking is the bane of mental peace. Stresses you, squeezes your energy and drains you completely even before you know it. It is always glorified in women’s context and said women are good at multi tasking and thereby conveniently offloading the workload onto her – be it home or the office (some may not agree though). At work you are not much into multitasking and focus on just the work hence one finds him/herself much relaxed as you said Alok. Stress, pressure and expectations coupled with guilt is the deadly concoction for anybody’s health. Your post is a timely alert/reminder for everyone to think over it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have so rightly put together everything in a few words. Hope we can learn and make our lives easier.
      One famous quote from Mr Bhagat comes to my mind – Nobody will remember power point presentations on your funeral. So better enjoy your life too.

      Thank you for adding, Bushra.


  5. very interesting post.Its very interesting that you mention about women begin less stressed at work than at home….it can be true a lot of times.At work you get a lunch break where you can destress. House work is never ending, rewardless and monotonous.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An insightful post which focuses on the importance of managing stress. I fully endorse Purba’s views on Stress being a state of mind. We now have some good self-development programs where we learn breathing techniques and other processes to keep our minds calm even under stressful conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That is an interesting topic but I am sorry to point out that the handling reeks of patriarchal mindset! Both home and workplace can be stressful, depending upon the kind of work you do and the cooperation that is extended by the persons around us. Both can be covered into lovely places with love, care and sharing, more so at home. The conservative roles of a man and a woman need to forgotten to de-stress.
    When we put our heart and soul into making our home a lovingly comfortable place, we both move parallel to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point.
      But i guess the love, care, sharing etc brings stress with them especially when we are working also. For instance, what if our baby is crying and we are in an important meeting we can’t get out of? Most of us won’t be able to concentrate…


  8. Stress in office s mostly time pressure or peer pressure. And if we don’t like the job, we can look out for some other job.

    On the contrary, stress at home could be emotional which drains out energy quickly. So one would head out to office for a break. Unlike job, you can’t change family!

    If one faces stress both at office and home in the same time frame, he/she is an unfortunate one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well explained. All in all, it is onto us how much we are willing to handle…there are ways to minimize stress also as few others have mentioned here.

      Thanks for a great addition, Anand.


  9. Well said Alok. ROWE sounds gr8…wish they only measured productivity & not hours at work.🙂 Yet both home & wrk r needed for a balanced life. Otherwise it’ll b more stressful- like for an unemployed person always home, or a single person who hates going home as he lives alone & prefers staying at office fully!😛

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If I see a sudden increase in the rate of divorce, I know the culprit is this post. Jokes apart, I do agree with most of the findings I feel no concentration at home may be because of the number of distractions not just family and chores but TV or surfing the web on social media that might be blocked in office. Good article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, i am still married…so take solace in that🙂

      One reason I don’t have data plan on phone is because i don’t want to use social media in office…it is too distracting.


  11. That’s a very realistic thing that you have mentioned and the flow of writing is just perfect! Short, to the point and rational..


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very interesting post. Stress has now come to live with us, no matter where we work but while working at home works only for some people perfectly, it does save one the commute to and back, especially for women who have to put in the required hours at work and still come back to a long list of chores at home. A lot of men too dislike the idea of working from home especially if they know they are expected to give a helping hand at other tasks. A lot of men who never ever share that workload with women happily work from home…i know quite a few of them🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. First of all, I am not stressed out. But that is because I am a Sannyasi, with long years of Dhyaan.

    As for which is more stressful, the home or the office, …that depends.

    And it is More Important to find solutions to the stresses rather than thinking which is more stressful!

    And DHYAAN, Calming the Mind, is the Best Answer to all this. For a bit on that, please peruse:

    Hearty Regards and Blessings.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I feel good when I work whether it is at home or office. I think the stress levels are lower at home for me. I mean, at work, I have to work as per someone else’s expectation. But at home, not so much🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, my office is in the home, so thankfully it sums up to a conclusion that irrespective of the place the stress remains there and far less because I manage both at the same time. But this is a very good topic that you have discussed here Alok, it completely depends upon the person and his/her priority. Generally the stress generates more on the area where one gives higher priority to. I would like to know your answer on this🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think if we are involved in multiple tasks at once…like home (emotional aspect works here) and work (we are paid for it, so can’t sideline it), we are bound to get stress, if we are not good at multitasking.

      I don’t think if there is only one high priority item, it will lead to stress, since the task is clearly identified for us…it should rather decrease stress.


  16. It’s all about the balance, knowing what we can do and what we cannot, stop feeling guilty for things that are beyond our control and realize that we dont have to be perfect all the time. Very nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Interesting post Alok🙂. I guess stress is there everywhere. But then, again it depends on both the partners as to the ways they split their responsibilities at home. In a day and age, where equality is the name of the game, ‘Share the Load’ kinds etc🙂, I am sure dividing the responsibilities would go a long way to reduce the stress at home and instead make it a pleasure to do these tasks together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s a practical way to reduce stress; but not many men like to do even their part (like laundry). So the entire proposition falls apart. Hope we learn in the future.

      Aseem, Thank you for a wonderful addition.


  18. Very apt issue these days… but disregarding many things such as the amount of work and juggling, according to me two things are paramount – at work there should be work satisfaction and flexibility, and at home good bonding and communtion with family members. It should not be that kids spend time being at their world and not with parents, as they grow up then they will get bored being with parents… so perhapes parents can do things like tell them stories at night or just love or talk with them. Between spouces too, communication should be there, so they don’t add to stress, I reckon most of the communication will be non-verbal and understood. I think the men have to help the women out atleast in the weekends, I am sure that will make wives very happy… at work yes result oriented, smart work is good… everyone should do some other activities as well, and play corporate games and things once a while and get the team bonded too… but think about it thesedays no one will be happy not multi tasking because thats the only way to get most out of lives… I am glad women are awesome at it, but maybe emotional problems are there because of all this… there may be more than one ways to handle it…but I think atleast at home family, the spouse should understand, even the kids should understand and everyone should be responsible… thats why this generation is smarter, stronger, faster… goodday… and I hope we pay respects to Dr Abdul Kalam as well, one of the most inspiring, beautiful Indian our country was lucky to have…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. why don’t you write about car pooling… Bangalore tops in car trafffic equal now to almost Delhi, Mumbai has least road traffic from cars…was in times today… so if you guys travel like own car and some known person is there car pooling is good na…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello Alok,

    I appreciate your take when you say “our working spouses have taken up considerably more workload.” Many understand this but do not express.

    I too feel more concentrated at my work place rather than Home but Happiness, Indeed, it lies in my household chores😉 and serving my family.

    Liked by 1 person

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