Working from home certainly has its rewards: you can wear whatever you want, your commute time is cut to zero, and you have an endless supply of snacks and easy access to your kitchen. But when working from home is no longer a choice, it’s easy to experience isolation, limited productivity, and increased stress. A 2019 survey revealed that isolation affects up to 41% of employees – which can have an impact on your health and mental well-being.
The “Work From Home Blues” can affect a number of elements of your workday. It can limit or stifle productivity, and the lack of physical closeness with your coworkers can hinder collaborative efforts. Working from home can also affect your mental health. You’re likely experiencing stress if your kids are at home during school closures, and you’re also at risk of experiencing loneliness and depression brought on by isolation. The struggles of technology only seem to become more prominent, like lagging video or audio meetings, new platforms to navigate, or dropped calls.
6 ways to tackle these challenges
1. Set yourself up for success
Try to create a routine. This includes things like clocking in and out, getting dressed for work, “commuting” before work, and creating a dedicated space for work. The separate space acts as a psychological barrier between home and work and can help you focus on your tasks.
2. Get outside
If it’s possible to get some fresh air while still respecting physical distancing, do it. Fresh air can help clear your mind and provide the same mental break you’d get during your mid-afternoon coffee break.
3. Get in a little exercise
Try to make time for some small-space physical activity. Short bursts of energy can release tension, relieve stress, and boost your mood. Starting a new fitness routine for the first time? Our 30 Days to Fitness program will get you into a new routine in a month. For more tips on staying active while you’re at home, read our helpful blog post.
4. Be social
Physical distancing does not equal social distancing. Do your best to stay connected with your friends and family and continue leaning on your social network for support. Make a virtual coffee date with your kitchen chat buddy, or arrange a social with your team over Zoom. Remember, members of your team might be in the same boat, and there’s nobody who understands your situation better than they do.
5. Be kinder to yourself
This is a new and unprecedented time. Working at your office will not be the same as working from home, especially if there are little ones running around. Remember that new routines and new environments take time to get used to. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not able to accomplish the same amount of work as you would at your desk.
Set aside some time to take stock of the things you’re grateful for. The practice of keeping a regular journal can reduce stress and encourage you to continue with healthy habits for positive changes in your life. Print our gratitude template and take a few minutes every day to reflect on what you are thankful for.
6. Get to know your new tools
Working remotely might mean that you’re suddenly using tools that are new and unfamiliar. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a frustrating video call malfunction, try brushing up on your tech know-how for easier virtual meetings.
- 5 tips for getting the most out of Slack
- FAQs on Google Hangouts
- Zoom video tutorials
- Getting started with Skype
While we’re here, our last piece of advice is this: turn on your video! Being able to see your colleagues, even if it’s in the comfort of their own home (or pyjamas), will bring a small measure of normalcy back into your routine.