Working from home is the new normal. A 2020 survey established that about 70 percent of employed adults in the U.S. are currently working from home. While working from home has been gaining popularity in recent years, it wasn’t until 2020 that it became widespread, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The benefits of working from home are well documented: increased flexibility, better work-life balance, and money savings just to mention a few.
However, there’s an issue that’s cropping up and spreading fast: work stress associated with working from home.
If you’re no longer excited about remote work and you constantly find yourself getting stressed, it’s time to take action. Don’t think of rushing back to the office yet. There are steps you can take to rid yourself of the stress.
Read on to learn more.
Identify What’s Causing Your Work Stress
You were certainly excited about the prospect of working from home. No more close supervision from the boss and you could finally work from your couch or the local café.
Working from home has tangible benefits, but the excitement soon wears off for most people. And this is when stress starts to creep in.
The first step to fixing your remote work stress is to identify what’s causing it. Perhaps you’re stressed because you’re always facing too many distractions.
Especially if you have a family and your kids, working from your home exposes you to endless distractions. Your kids want your attention all the time, so you’re more prone to taking some minutes off to attend to their needs. The result? Failure to meet deadlines.
Maybe you’re stressed because your home internet is lousy. Or because your employer hasn’t provided sufficient technical support.
Assess your work-from-home life and create a list of things that are making your work-life worse. You can then start addressing them one by one. Although your approach will depend on the nature of your stressors, there are proven strategies you can implement.
Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
If you’re new to this working-from-home life, you likely don’t have a dedicated workspace or home office. You’re content with working from your dining table or even from the couch. Sometimes you even get some work done in bed.
Location flexibility (even in your house) is one of the big perks of remote work. However, your excitement isn’t going to last very long if you don’t have a designated workspace. It won’t be long before the couch becomes uncomfortable. The dining area is a decent place to work from, but you probably won’t stop making endless trips to the refrigerator.
Setting up a home office is key to getting organized and reducing your work stress. Ideally, this should be a separate room, where you can work from without facing any destructions. If you have young ones, locking the door to your home office is a good way to keep them out. Heck, they might even not know that you’re in there!
If you don’t have a spare room to convert to a home office, worry not. Carve out an ideal space in one of your rooms and set it up complete with an office desk and chair. This could be in your bedroom if it’s large enough, your living room, or even along a corridor.
It’s important that the space is office-themed. This will help you switch to work mode quickly so you can get work done.
Draw a Work Schedule
When you have a 9 to 5 job and you work on-site, your schedule is pretty much predetermined. You should be in the office by 9 and by 5 you should be on your way home.
Working from home, however, comes with plenty of flexibility. As long as you can get the day’s work done, you can wake up and call it a day whenever you’d like. Some days you can opt to sleep through the day and work through the night.
There’s really nothing wrong with having a flexible work schedule, but the only problem is most people lack the discipline to get work done when there isn’t a defined structure. Humans are creatures of habit, after all.
Draw a work schedule and strive to stick to it. This will help ensure you aren’t getting distracted by things that aren’t work-related.
Self-Care Is Paramount
Whether you’re working on-site or from home, self-care is essential. However, when you’re working from home it’s easy to ignore taking care of yourself. You assume that you’ll automatically reap the work-life balance benefits of remote work, so you don’t put any effort into caring for your well-being.
Make time for activities that are good for your mental and physical health.
For instance, take a vacation just as you would when you have a regular 9 to 5 job. Don’t skimp on regular physical exercise. Yoga and meditation can also help to keep stress away from you.
Listen to the music that makes you happy and spend your free time with your closest friend.
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Work Stress Shouldn’t Ruin Your Remote Work Experience
Most employees want to continue working from home after the COVID-19 pandemic eases, and it’s easy to see why. However, remote work has its fair share of downsides, including increased risk for work stress.
Don’t let stress ruin your experience. Implement the tips fleshed out above and soon you’ll be in a better position to manage the stress.
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