Working from home is becoming increasingly common in the United States. Remote workers increased by over 44% in the last five years, according to a recent study by Flexjobs. And with the current pandemic, a lot of employees have no choice but to work from home.
Remote work is a double-edged sword. A famous Stanford study found that it was beneficial to a company, as workers were more productive and had improved morale compared to their office-going counterparts. The Flexjobs report echoed the same results.
The Pitfalls of Remote Work
However, the author of the Stanford paper, Nicholas Bloom, recently had an interview stating that remote work can be detrimental to worker productivity and morale. This is because the workers in his paper still went to the office at least once a week. Today’s workers don’t have that choice.
He also stated that noise from roommates and lack of face-to-face communication with fellow employees stifles creativity and productivity. Bloom interviewed employees who lived alone during this social distancing period. Some of them felt isolated and lonely, so he feared that a mental health crisis might erupt along with the spread of the virus.
Some employees work comfortably at home, while others just feel a load of stress. If you belong to the latter group, here are ways to reduce stress before, during, and after your shift.
Set a Schedule
It’s easy to distract yourself when working from home. After all, your manager isn’t there to check on you from time-to-time. You might find that a 30-minute break could turn into an hour and 30-minute one because you over-napped. You’ll be left with a mountain of backlogged tasks to do, and you might have to work beyond your shift to finish them. Avoid this issue by creating a set schedule for yourself.
Start with a specific time you’ll start your tasks. If you wish to do them right after you clock in, wake up about an hour earlier, just like the usual when you have to commute to work. Do your usual ritual like eating breakfast, showering, or working out before you start. This way, you won’t have to worry about doing them later.
Create a set time as to when you want to finish each task. Do your best to complete them on or before your deadline. Repeat these two processes and get used to them. This way, you can clock out at exactly five and relax for the rest of the night.
The mental toll of the current pandemic and working from home can be intense. As such, it’s essential to lift your spirits by rewarding yourself now and then. Have you finished a long and crucial task? Spoil yourself with takeout from your favorite restaurant or fast-food chain. Have you gotten through the whole month with high scores? Disconnect from work and take a week’s vacation or take yourself to a spa with massage services, if establishments are already open. No matter the size of your reward, you’ll come back to work with a refreshed mood.
Interact With Colleagues
Remote working breeds loneliness and self-isolation, as you don’t get to have water-cooler talk and coffee runs with your fellow employees anymore. The feeling only gets worse if you live alone. ; Keep in touch with your coworkers and friends every break time or after work. Having companions to support you is vital in keeping yourself motivated for the everyday grind.
Working from home has a variety of benefits to businesses. However, they also come with consequences for the employees themselves. Feelings of loneliness and isolation, as well as extended work schedules, can build stress that can harm both your mental and physical health. With a set schedule, a fair reward system, and enough social interaction, you’ll be able to get through your 9-to-5 with little to no stress.