It’s been long enough since we started working from home for us all to have become comfortable with remote working. And although most businesses have reopened and many have gone back to face to face working, some of us have recognized that working from home works just as effectively as working from the office. Now that remote working is a big part of our daily routine, you’re probably sick of it already. It was fun and cool to be able to commute from the bedroom to the spare room in under a minute and to hastily button a shirt over our pajamas seconds before clicking on the Zoom icon, but remote working has its downsides too. For some of us, boundaries and work-life balance have gone, and we miss the energy of the everyday office banter and quick breaks. So how do we deal with the challenges and stress from remote working? (Or, as a great podcast entitled it, how do we stop WFH from becoming WTF?)
Here is a remote work destressing guide for all our remote workers…OUT there.
There can be various distractions that cause stress in a remote working set up. People you live with might not understand that despite your presence being at home, you’re mentally supposed to be at work. They might expect you to do chores and help out with activities at home since you’re physically there. These activities can be as small as clearing tiny messes on the way to your laptop to doing the laundry or going grocery shopping between meetings. Group and compile quick tasks like these and you will soon realize why you’re even more exhausted working at home than when you had a commute. The best solution to this is to set your boundaries. You may be at home, but you’re still ‘at work’. Make sure that everyone you live with knows that your work-time starts at- say- 9 in the morning and ends at 5 in the afternoon. If they need your help on anything during that time, let them know that you’ll be able to help after work. Have them understand that although you’re at home, it should be treated as if you’re in an office on the other side of town.
Setting boundaries doesn’t just apply to your family or housemates. It should also apply to your work. If your work day ends at 5 in the afternoon, your colleagues shouldn’t expect you stay later than that just because you’re already at home. Work is work wherever you may be and it can equally be tiring whether you’re in the office or at home.
Claim a workspace
Whether a room, a table, or just a couch, claim a workspace. It’s yours during your workday. This will help you simulate an office or a cubicle and might help you mentally and physically prepare yourself for work. Make sure that this space is comfortable enough for you to sit and work in for several hours. If possible, choose a room in which you can shut yourself away, or quiet corner all to yourself. Wherever you are, try to avoid outside noises that will distract you. Do you or your neighbors have gardeners with leaf blowers? Does the window look out over any construction that is going on? Thinking ahead when selecting your workspace can pay dividends later.
Create a routine
Back when you worked in the office, didn’t you have a routine? Bring it back. A routine will help you focus more and set clear goals and time for breaks. Restrict social media (or smoking) breaks to as often as would be appropriate in the office. Set regular lunch and snack breaks. Remember, just because you are at home doesn’t make it healthy to work for an eight hour stretch without any downtime.
One of the factors that contribute to remote working stress and burnout is physical isolation. Admit it, you’ve been feeling stuck. You have been sitting on your work chair every day since March 2020 without any break in your routine. Movement and outside activities have been so limited you forget to take some time to move around. Set stretching and walking breaks in between hours of work. Aside from breathing in and realigning with yourself, you might even find a new corner in your house you haven’t explored yet.
Water is the most important thing to ingest, and this is from someone who likes single malt! Without water, everything stops working, including our ability to do our job. The recommended amount of water to drink is between 2.7 liters and 3.7 liters. Take regular water breaks, set an alarm on your calendar reminding you to drink water and you will find it easy to stay hydrated.
The world has changed and we have to change with it. For some, it’s easier than for others. If you’re having a more difficult time, hang in there. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated during stressful times at work, and stay afloat!
If you haven’t done these already, now is the time. If you have other destressing tips to share, comment below!
And if you liked this article, check out some other helpful guides that we have in our blog!