Tips for Surviving and Thriving in the New Normal; Working from Home
2020 continues to surprise us all daily and most Americans are experiencing situations foreign to us on the work, home and child-raising fronts. The stress and anxiety from the coronavirus pandemic alone are enough to drive us mad but now, according to estimates, an incredible 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time. This is a complete change in dynamics, and it can make us feel like our work lives are turned upside down.
While some feel that working from home offers more flexibility and mobility, many of us are working longer hours and feel more stressed at home than in the actual workplace. In fact, according to a study completed by survey mogul, Qualtrics, 52% of workers are feeling more anxious at home than when they were working in the office. And women are 9% more stressed than their male counterparts when they started working remotely. This could be related to significant others also working from home or juggling childcare and work but it’s safe to say that we’re all struggling to find that work-life balance. Fortunately, there are some easy remedies for stress, anxiety, or even feeling disconnected while working from home.
Create a Space That’s Conducive to You
It has been said that a cluttered workspace is often indicative of a cluttered mind. There’s nothing worse than an unorganized workspace and it’s bound to happen when you’re not prepared. At the start of your work from home journey, find a space that can be dedicated to you and your work. This can look like a lot things but find a design and level of organization that’s going to boost your productivity. For some, this may be turning that guest bedroom into a quiet work office while others may prefer (or not have any other choice) to utilize the dining room table. Finding a comfortable space to set up shop will offer a feeling of security, reducing the stress you may feel from a hectic environment. If you’re working in a full house, grab a pair of headphones so that you can maintain concentration and stay on track for those important deadlines. Maintaining a schedule and organized workspace can help to reduce anxiety by creating structure instead.
Create a Schedule… and (Try to) Stick to it
As previously mentioned, any change in work dynamic can throw your usual structure for a loop. To get that feeling of certainty back, create a guideline that keeps you on track and moving towards your goals. For those of you managing children while also working from home, set aside small breaks that allow you to step away from work and handle any home life situations that may occur. Otherwise, tackle your largest obstacles head-on as soon as you open that laptop. For most, working right after you wake up is more productive than waiting until mid-day to begin your tasks. Work can become a dark cloud hanging over you as you begin to procrastinate getting your start so to avoid this, starting early and being proactive will leave you energized and confident that you’ve done your best work. And if you love social media, do your best to not get sucked into the swiping and doom-scrolling vortex. Taking small breaks is great but don’t get so caught up that you’ve spent an hour being unproductive. Set a schedule that plans for breaks but jump right into the swing of things when that break window closes.
Talk to Your Coworkers for Much-Needed Connection
Working from home not only changes the environment dynamic, but it changes the course of your work relationships as well. For many, they aren’t just our coworkers, but friends we value. Evolving from everyday banter to working solo at home can be a tough transition and ultimately feels a bit isolating. To keep those connections alive, talk to your coworkers, even if it isn’t a work-related matter. Sometimes, especially if it isn’t a work-related matter. Chances are good they’re feeling just as stir-crazy and craving connection with fellow human beings as you are. There are many online sources for communication so choose which platform is best for you. If you’re chatting with superiors, a video call to show off your hard work may be best while a simple phone call to your coworker should do the trick. Plus, talking through every day stressors can not only mitigate built-up frustration but can reduce the anxiety that comes along with feeling alone.
Make Moments to Relax and Unwind a Priority
Workdays are stressful anyway but tack on a disruption to your work-life balance and your stress can hit you like a ton of bricks. When work is done for the day, take some time to yourself to relax and unwind from the gruel of everyday life. An excellent way to relieve stress is massage therapy and if you feel any tension from sitting all day, trigger massage therapy can be a lifesaver. For headaches, focus on pressure points and the nerves of the scalp and base of the head and neck. Applying pressure to these points can relieve any built-up tension to stop headaches on a dime. And posture is so important but who is employing perfect posture when sitting on the couch? We aren’t so for the muscle tension you may feel in your back and shoulders, a trigger point massage tool can help target knots that make relaxation feel impossible. By applying pressure to the knots, you can literally feel the tension unwind in all your problem areas. Take the necessary time to reward yourself so you can come back better than ever the next day.
While 2020 has felt very out of left field, we are all doing our best to survive and keep strong. Despite the stress and anxiety we all may feel during this time of transition, there are many ways to feel more secure and connected to those around us while also protecting ourselves in the long run. Take the necessary steps to feel more comfortable, organized, and ready to take on the world so each day gets even easier when working from home!
"How ready are we to work from home?" Qualtrics XM, 30 Mar. 2020, www.qualtrics.com/blog/ready-to-work-from-home/. Accessed 9 Sept. 2020.
"How to Deal With Ongoing Stress Caused by Working From Home." McLean Harvard Medical School Affiliate, McLean Hospital, 18 June 2020, www.mcleanhospital.org/news/how-deal-ongoing-stress-caused-working-home. Accessed 9 Sept. 2020.
Scott, Elizabeth, MS. "How to Handle the Stress of Working From Home." Edited by Amy Morin, LCSW. Very Well Mind, 17 Mar. 2020, verywellmind.com/the-stress-of-working-from-home-4141174. Accessed 9 Sept. 2020
Stanford research provides a snapshot of a new working-from-home economy https://news.stanford.edu/2020/06/29/snapshot-new-working-home-economy/