Working from Home – Stress and Coping
Work From Home (WFH) is the new normal. Before the pandemic just 14% of Americans worked remotely five or more days a week. Over two years into the pandemic most workers (59%) with jobs they can do from home are choosing teleworking. Even as workplaces reopen most are working from home by choice! WFH has its perks: you can work in your PJs, control you daily schedule, spend more time with family, save hours of commuting time, and reduce the time you must deal with an overbearing boss or co-worker.
However, WFH can feel overwhelming for some due to increased stress and/or decreased productivity. What is causing stress?
- Recent studies report that telecommuting can cause anxiety, exhaustion, depression, pain, strain, and stress; burnout and decreased physical activity.
- The hours you save from commuting and working with your peers can end up expanding the workday by three hours which means you must always be available. There is no disconnect between home and work life. Those extra hours can create the temptation to work longer hours or create less urgency to complete your work.
- Virtual meetings leave less opportunity to informally touch base and can feel like a time drain and leave employees fatigued.
- Lack of external structure requires employees and management to develop discipline to manage work-life balance.
- Increased feelings of Isolation without the in-person interaction of being in the office with others. The lack of physical contact can leave you feeling less connected to co-workers.
- Collaboration becomes more difficult. Some people are not proficient in communicating by phone and email.
- Technical difficulties like internet connectivity and hardware problems create stress.
- The distractions of being at home; including video games and online shopping.
- If there are kids at home, then you are an employee while also being a parent.
Heightened stress and anxiety can decrease productivity and negatively impact wellbeing. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2021, 53% of American adults have had their mental health negatively impacted by the stress of the pandemic. In many ways working from home has created a new environment for consideration of work life balance.
What can you do to improve your mental health while working from home?
- Develop a regular schedule for starting and stopping work.
- Take small breaks to stretch and decompress.
- Check in with supportive colleagues and check on others to help improve your sense of connection and belonging.
- Eliminate distractions to the best of your ability such as turning off social media and phone notifications.
- After work do something you enjoy.
There is help and hope. With a caring therapist and the right treatment, you can learn to make positive changes when working from home becomes overwhelming. If this sounds like something you or a loved one are struggling with, we at Healthymynds in Redondo Beach are here to help. Reach out to schedule a consultation and learn how to address the work/life balance.