Most people have now been forced to shut down their ‘formal offices’ and work from home. This is a new working plan that most companies and employers are embracing quite well.
More and more people are now embracing the self-employment culture and finding themselves working from home regularly too.
Those working from home know that there are ups and downs and it’s not just a walk in the park. Some days are so good and some days are the opposite.
Some days you wake up feeling you got it together and you are very productive without a struggle. On other days you are really struggling to get work done and everything seems too much.
For some people working from home is the best.
The best thing about working from home is the power and the control you have on your work schedule. Also, you are not physically dealing with your toxic or disruptive co-workers or the draining commute to work.
At the same time, some people find working from home really stressful and prefer the office set up. Being in a different environment from home and in a controlled working setting helps them get more done. Therefore, them being stuck in the house and having to work increases their stress levels and affects their productivity process.
Besides that, working from home has its own challenges the same way a traditional office set-up has its own challenges. When working from home, there are a few things that can make working from home stressful as time goes by.
The Big 5 Stressors.
Depending on your living situation and the kind of a person you are, your stressors are different from someone else’s.
These stressors are things or factors that contribute to increasing your stress levels as you work from home. You might bring some of them yourself and others are highly influenced by your environment – what surrounds you?
Lacking a Structure.
Well, this is a stressor that most people deal with; lacking a structure of getting things done as you work from home.
If you just wake up and wait to see where and how the day takes you, you will definitely be on the edge. You should be the one to direct your day, what to do, and what time to do it. When you do this, you are more in control of your day and your work.
Have a structure put in place of when to start working and when to stop as this will determine the rest. With this, you know when to stop binge-watching a show on Netflix or to put the phone down. You will know when to go to bed since you know when you need to start work tomorrow.
The key to this is knowing what time you are most productive and set your work schedule around that. You can then easily know when to schedule other important household tasks and appointments.
Having a structure will help you feel more in control and also increase your productivity levels. You will be less stressed, consistently get things done, and develop healthy habits which are a boost to your mental health.
A structure is a backbone to successfully and productively working from home.
Most people find working from home stressful because of the many distractions that come with the environment. Dealing with distractions while in an office setup is easier than it is when working where you live.
As mentioned above, lacking a structure or a work schedule increases your stress levels. When you don’t have structure put in place, you are easily distracted by anything on the way.
The TV, social media, the endless phone calls, and SMS, the kids, visitors – a cousin or a friend passing by any time of the day, etc.
You can be easily distracted by the TV or social media for hours if you are not careful. If you have kids who constantly need your attention and don’t really understand you need to work, they will perfectly distract you.
Working while frequently getting distracted affects your productivity and this reduces your efficiency. You need to be more aware and more in control of the distractions around you.
Put your phone in another room where you won’t keep seeing it or put it in silent mode or airplane mode. On the other hand, use a digital wellness and control app to control your screen time and social media notifications.
If you get calls during your work time, let the callers know you will get back to them later in the day.
A few minutes of dealing with something that’s not work-related during your work time can get you distracted for hours. When this keeps happening regularly, you will definitely get stressed as you are not working efficiently.
Not Setting Boundaries.
This goes hand in hand with the first and second stressors mentioned – lacking a structure and too many distractions.
If you are working from home and you want to increase your productivity and reduce your stress levels, you have to set boundaries. Boundaries with your friends, spouse, family, and yourself.
When you set boundaries with your family, spouse, and friends, you won’t have to deal with them as distractions.
Make them understand your work and your schedule and this will make it easy for them to understand and respect it.
For yourself, know how to put a balance between work time and social time as this will help you set the boundaries.
Setting and keeping boundaries can be pretty difficult especially when you are dealing with kids and family.
Socially Isolating yourself.
Human beings are naturally social beings and that’s how we are all wired.
When you are working from home, you are likely going to physically enclose yourself from the outside world. You will find that you are no longer spending time with people as you used to before.
Being in the solitude of your home really works in getting work done as you are not easily distracted by someone. However, over time or sometimes, this solitude has a downside. Your face to face human interactions reduce and if you are not careful, they might go downhill.
In an office set up, human interactions are automatic compared to when working from home. While working from home, you have to intentionally keep up with friends, family members, and your network. If you don’t, you might find yourself lonely and stressed up and to some extent without a support system.
Your social media interactions cannot supplement the face to face interactions you need with people outside your home.
Make time to go out and meet up with friends, former colleagues, or family members, and catch up with them. Have a good laugh, share some food or a drink, and brainstorm ideas.
Loneliness doesn’t feel good and it can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Working from home can feel stressful if you do not have a focus. When you don’t have goals you are looking forward to accomplishing, you will easily lose focus.
You will not have the drive to keep you working and be productive since you can’t see what you are working towards.
When you lose your groove, you will be getting on the edge in snap of a finger.
Having a personal goal(s) you are working towards will keep you grounded and easily deal with distractions that come up.
This will help you stay motivated and keep track of what you have accomplished. Even when you feel drained, you keep going since you have a goal you are working towards.
Rewarding yourself for progress and getting work done will keep you motivated.
Tips to easily avoid and deal with the stress associated with working from home.
- Have a proper structure of efficiently getting work and home tasks done.
- Work when you work best by knowing when you are more and less productive.
- Have a sleeping schedule and stick to it to make sure you get enough rest as lack of enough sleep and rest increases your stress levels.
- Stay socially connected with family, friends, and the outside world regularly.
- Learn when to say no by setting boundaries and get comfortable with saying no when you need to. No to social media/TV, no to friends, no to kids, and no to a spouse.
- Remember to reward yourself when you accomplish a goal you set at the beginning of the day. This will keep you going day by day and accomplish your goals.
- Remember to be kind to yourself when you miss the mark once in a while and take it easy. But, don’t stay down flat on your stomach. Keep going even when it gets hard.
Working from home comes with a lot of freedom and it can stress you if you let it. This is literally where your self-control and being your own boss gets tested.
Therefore, staying in control of your stressors and staying focused on your goals is the key.
With this, you will enjoy the many benefits of working from home and you will be able to establish a work-life balance.