Working from home is no longer a new concept but the stresses that come from it are unique and can be difficult to recognize. Lack of social interaction with peers can feel isolating, working longer and later hours can lead to burnout, and professional and personal boundaries are frustratingly hard to maintain. Here are some common problems with tips on how to recognize and avoid workplace stress and the mental health strain it can cause.
First, maintain the basics of a healthy diet with exercise and enough sleep every day. These three things are half the battle.
Then take a hard look at what your home office set up is like. Does it give you a private and quiet area to remain focused? Is there a view away from your computer screen to change your perspective but not distract you? Do you always have hydration at your desk? Can you comfortably stand up and stretch or walk around the room while on a call? This area is your domain so use every inch of it to keep motivated and release stress.
Never turn down an opportunity to use remote viewing when someone asks to speak with you. The calming value of remote face to face interactions when working from home cannot be overstated. Stress is eased when we see familiar faces, and remember, it is very likely you are doing that person a favor as well by breaking up their work from home routine of emails and conference calls.
Stay disconnected at the end of the day. It can be tempting to sit up in bed on your phone replying to work emails when you can’t sleep. You won’t fall out of the loop by remaining incommunicado through the night and on the weekends. Let your manager and peers know what boundaries make working from home work for you, and ask for their boundaries as well. You might learn a few things from each other.
And if you can, dedicate downtime to others who are at home with you, or with family and friends through remote viewing. Celebrate the end of the work week, holidays, and birthdays with the same vigor you would if able to travel or dine at a restaurant.
Be honest and compassionate to yourself and others. This is a stressful time regardless of our new work situations.