Before COVID-19, working from home had the reputation of being amazing and convenient. There’s no commute, no traffic to deal with, and you get to be home with your family more.
But being a remote worker can also cause a lot of stress. The lines between work and personal life can blur, leading to longer work hours and difficulty disconnecting from work-related matters. The absence of a physical workspace can make it challenging to mentally switch off from work mode.
Additionally, the lack of face-to-face interactions with colleagues may lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Moreover, the distractions at home, such as household chores or family members seeking attention, can hinder productivity and add to the stress.
It’s crucial for remote workers to establish clear boundaries, maintain a structured schedule, and prioritize self-care to manage the stress that comes with working from home effectively.
To help combat the feeling of being overwhelmed, we’ve put together a few tips to help you.
Create and Get into a Routine
From the time we were all kids, through school, and at the majority of our professional lives, we’ve also had a routine, and for a good reason, too. Routine is always important – whether you’re at an office or not. Routines help to keep you on track and to get as much done as you can – without overexerting yourself.
You should be waking up at the same time each workday. And you should have a set routine for that day. If you don’t have a planner already, then this may be the perfect time to get yourself one. You can schedule your days ahead, find a routine that works for you, and write out your to-do list. You’ll feel more in control of your days and know what’s coming.
Need help structuring a routine for yourself? Download our WBD Planner PDF below and plan your day – hour by hour.
Breaks are essential for both your mental and physical health – and also for your own sanity! Taking short breaks throughout the day can help you be even more productive when you return to your desk – not to mention it will help you feel more refreshed.
Take a break to check your phone, eat lunch, take a short walk, or even to step outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. Forbes states that employees who take breaks gain focus and energy once they return to their work. And they also gain a creative boost while improving their mental well-being.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up in your house the entire day. For some people – especially extroverts – being around people is the very thing that keeps them sane and drives them to get things done. There are different ways to “get out” when you feel you are stuck at home.
For one of your breaks, you could take some time to get outside and breathe the fresh air. Grab your laptop, a glass of water (or even your morning coffee), and work on your porch for a while. Getting a little sunlight, breathing in the fresh air, and waving to your neighbors as they pass by will help to put a smile on your face and reduce stress levels.
If you need a little social interaction or a change of scenery and can work in a loud place, maybe head to a coffee shop for a few hours (after COVID-19 is over, naturally). Studies have proven that working from a coffee shop can increase your creativity and productivity.
A lot of people feel as though multitasking equals harder working. This isn’t necessarily true, as studies say that there is no such thing as multitasking. While you may or may not agree, sometimes multitasking can actually mean doing a lot of different things over a longer period of time than if you had tackled them all with greater focus.
While working from home, you may feel more overwhelmed – you have things that have to be done for work and things that need to be done around your house. Doing various tasks at one time, you might be causing yourself more stress and putting less thought into your work. Create your lists and routine and focus on one task at a time.
Understand Your Needs
Everyone is different and works better under different circumstances. It’s all about knowing your needs and what helps and doesn’t.
Try to figure out how you work best and what environment pushes you to be more productive. While some individuals need complete silence, others require the bustle of life around them. Some people need organization, while others work best in a bit of chaos. Know what works for you, and create your optimal environment.
Set your boundaries and continuously check on yourself and your mental health. If you feel you’re close to your breaking point or on the verge of burnout, it may be time to take a step back. Sometimes you just need a mental health day or some after-work self-care.
Finding the work/life balance, especially while working from home, is important. And taking the necessary precautions and steps to deal with work-from-home stress will benefit you and those around you!
How do you handle work-from-home stress? Let us know in the comments below!
Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.
Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.