While remote work was forced on us by the pandemic, it turned out to be beneficial for most people. From getting more time with family to getting to work from anywhere, the benefits were apparent.
However, with no friends to gossip with in the kitchen while making coffee, no water cooler talks, and no lunch buddies, working from home can become stressful quickly. In this post, we share tips that can help you reduce work-from-home stress and get a hold of your personal and professional life.
Why Is Working from Home Stressful?
A report by Statista shows that 51.4 percent of employees reported that working from home during the pandemic left them feeling more stressed. In a survey by Flexjobs, 75 percent of employees agree that remote work stress affects their mental health.
At first, we may love the idea of fewer commutes, working in pajamas, and setting our own schedule. However, when these wear off and the challenges of working remotely become apparent, stress may kick in.
The lack of a professional environment can lead to a loss of morale, the feeling of isolation and loneliness starts to creep in and juggling home office and home life can lead to stress.
Some of the causes of these stressors include:
- Blurred work and personal life boundaries
- Difficulty unplugging from work
- Feelings of isolation
- The always-on culture
- Too many distractions
- Working too many hours
- Limited workplace communication
How to Know You’re Dealing with Work from Home Stress
If you notice any of these symptoms, you may be dealing with remote work stress:
- Trouble completing tasks
- Overall lack of energy or dullness
- Poor focus or concentration
- Irregular sleep cycle
- No job satisfaction
- Constant tiredness
If not addressed, these symptoms can negatively affect your productivity and health.
How to Reduce Work from Home Stress
Knowing the source of your stress can help you manage it and improve your productivity. Below, we share useful strategies for reducing stress while working from home.
Work with a Routine
A lack of structure is a leading cause of work-related stress. A routine is one of the good work-from-home habits that you should implement in your daily life. When you clearly define the structure of your work days, you become more organized.
In turn, you plan your tasks better and finish them on time. You also can create more time for other personal stuff like visiting friends, vacationing, or simply relaxing.
Keep Your Social Life Active
Studies have shown that remote workers put in more hours than their office counterparts. However, this doesn’t mean you should let work interfere with your social life. Find a ritual that helps you unplug from work so you can catch up with fellow working-from-home friends.
The idea is to maintain a lifestyle that you had when you were working in an office. If you’re a party animal, find time in your hectic schedule to satiate your partying needs.
Remember, isolation is a leading work-from-home stressor. So, find a creative outlet that will keep you engaged and provide a feeling of purpose.
Take a Break from Work
Working from home may seem like you’re available all the time and can work all day. The fact is, working too much can lead to burnout, which will worsen stress. You need to take time off and away from work every once in a while, to re-energize and refresh your body and mind.
Therefore, utilize your vacation leave if you’re employed or take time off if you’re freelancing. Not only will this help you unwind, but you’ll also get some personal space to relax and pamper yourself.
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the thin line between work life and home life. This is due to a lack of boundaries that separate work from your personal life. Setting boundaries can help you define work-life balance and avoid work-related stress.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Set fixed hours for clocking in and out of work
- Establish a self-care routine that you can engage in before and after work
- Stick to your schedule and strive to complete tasks on time
- Sleep early and wake up early
Prioritize Your Health
It can be tough to sit for hours on end staring at your computer screen. Not to mention the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. To counter this and avoid stress and health issues, including weight gain, engage in physical activities.
These could range from taking a walk during your break, signing up for gym or yoga classes, or cycling before or after work. You could challenge yourself to something like hiking or self-defense classes, which strengthen your body and teach you new life skills.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “the quality and amount of sleep you get can affect your mood, energy level, concentration, and overall functioning.” Therefore, in addition to being active, eat well, sleep enough, and stay hydrated.
Keep Track of Your Work
You can get more work done with less stress if you track your work hours. Find a time tracker that automatically logs your work hours and comes with offline capabilities. That way, you aren’t limited to working from your home office alone. You can take work with you and still track your activity.
Time tracking tools are necessary for any remote workers who want to boost their productivity. Among other things, they can help you avoid payment conflicts since they accurately capture the total worked hours. In addition, you can easily generate reports and share the data with your clients or employer for reference or analysis.
Share Your Feelings Openly
Learning to say no can save you from work-related stress. As a remote worker, you may feel the pressure to prove your value to your boss. This may discourage you from refusing to take on more work, despite having your plate full.
In the end, you end up with more work than you can handle, which will lead to low productivity levels and increased stress. If you feel something will interfere with your ability to get work done more efficiently or is not good for your mental health, speak up.
Setting boundaries with your employers will prevent you from taking on too much work, easing the pressure, and giving you free time to unwind and re-energize.
Connect with Coworkers
Working from home means fewer face-to-face interactions with coworkers. However, thanks to technology, there are multiple ways to stay in touch with colleagues. Whether you choose Skype, WhatsApp, Duo, or any other messaging app that also supports video calls, be sure to regularly chat with coworkers.
You can even create a group for coworkers where you chat about anything. Once a week, you could organize group meeting calls to give everyone a chance to catch up with each other.
Get creative with these groups. For instance, you can suggest game nights or fun team-building activities that foster friendship and closeness.
While remote work may provide better flexibility and freedom to choose where and when you want to work, there are hidden stressors you should look out for. By knowing what you can do to reduce work-from-home stress, you’ll improve your overall work-life balance and boost productivity.