6 Ways To Cope With Stress While Working From Home and Avoiding Social Isolation
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, research conducted on 16,000 employees of a Chinese travel agency showed a 13% increase in performance when employees shifted to work from home conditions.
But after the pandemic started, the performance increase scenario has changed itself to include some disadvantages like work-life imbalance and social isolations that inevitably lead to stress.
There are obvious benefits of working from home that include zero commute time and the freedom to decide when and where to work. But it has become equally essential to deal with the stress arising out of work from home setup.
A stressful workday negatively impacts the quality of life of the employee and deteriorates their work performance. A study shows that there is likely to be a 5% productivity boost in the post-pandemic economy resulting from re-optimized working arrangements.
Cope With Stress While Working From Home: 6 Best Ways
To make the most of this advantage, employees need to learn how to cope with stress while working from home. By dealing with the below-listed issues that arise out of work from home setup in this pandemic situation, one can effectively reduce stress.
1. Lack of Organised Work: Create a Routine
A daily schedule helps in more effective management of your time, leading to a more focused mind for your work. The daily scheduling of activities starts with outlining responsibilities at the beginning of the day.
2. Create a Sense of Accomplishment
This routine helps you guide your actions throughout the day. At the end of the day, when you have ticked all or most of the activities as done, you get a sense of accomplishment.
This sense of accomplishment prevents depression and helps in reducing stress in a significant way. And on the days when you have only done nothing but minimal activities, skimming through your past daily activities enables you to cope with the stress related to inactivity.
Making a routine is not only about listing the works that need to be done but also specifying times for other essential ancillary tasks like
- Marking the beginning and end of your workday.
- Taking lunch at the same time every day.
- Taking a specific number of breaks at a certain interval of time.
It is also important that you schedule the most challenging task of the day at the very beginning because you have the most energy and focus early in the workday.
3. Habit Building: Efficient Body and Mind function
Our body and mind work most effectively when it does so through a habit. And following a daily routine helps in building that habit. Whenever the cycle of the most important activities like sleeping, waking, eating meals, and timely exercising are disrupted for a longer time, it slowly but surely results in eventual depression, lethargy, and poor cognitive performances.
4. Work-Life Imbalance
Imbalance in Work-Life relations can be a major cause of stress in today’s Work From Home scenario.
Earlier, there was a clear line of separation between work-related activities with other activities. But now, even the distinction between working and personal space is blurred to some extent.
5. Building a Dedicated Workspace At Home
The surrounding environment primarily determines the mood, focus, and energy of work. One of the best ways to cope with stress while working from home is to build your workspace.
Hence, there is a need to create a dedicated workspace that enables you to focus on work solely. Because working in the place where you sleep does not give a working vibe but gives a lethargic feeling.
Having a dedicated corner of the room with just a table-chair setup is enough sometimes.
6. Why is Movement Important? And how does it help fight stress?
When you work in an office, irrespective of how you feel that day, you work everything over because the working environment and the unavailability distractions help you stick to your work.
But at home, you may sometimes feel like not working, and no peer pressure can help you sail through the day. In that case, you may consider
- Shifting of focus by a quick game
- Checking social media
- Watching 15 minutes of a TV show
But that quick game, social media, or TV show takes too much of your time that your work remains undone, which leads to stress. And here you can get help by small movements.
Movement is a great stress reliever. Movements like:
- A short 5 minutes exercise,
- or 10 minutes of yoga,
- some weight lifting,
- Short cardio can work as a stress reliever.
These movements will help in reducing stiffness, remove headaches, and soothing eye strain.
How Does Social Isolation Impact Performance?
According to a study conducted on 265 employees, stress related to social isolation resulted in less work satisfaction in remote working. Research showed that some kind of social interaction is necessary during a workday to avoid a negative impact on working motivation. The same study also points out that in high-intensity work situations, productivity goes downward with more isolation.
How to deal with Social Isolation?
Due to Social Isolation, we are less likely to meet with people compared to regular times. And this is not good for mental health. Prolonged isolation without contact with other persons causes unnecessary mental stress.
Hence, for coping with feelings of loneliness, call or video chat with a friend. Or go for an online hangout and meet with friends you have not heard from for a while.
You can use your virtual workspace shared with your office colleagues to deal with stress caused by social isolation.
Organizing tea times with coworkers and having virtual lunches with them is also a great idea. Besides, you can schedule an informal conversation with colleagues before or after an official meeting time.
Be Aware of Distractions
There can be many distractions and interruptions during your working hour due to the reasons like:
- Children’s activity if you are a parent.
- The temptation for surfing feeds of social media.
- Watching television.
These distractions are more tempting when you feel low due to unpleasant interactions with colleagues, bosses, or clients.
How to Avoid Such Distractions During Work From Home?
- If you are a parent, then better divide the parenting time with your partner and set up a separate room as a workspace, then unlock the door only during the breaks. It would be refreshing to play with your child for that short interval.
- You can avoid distraction from your mobile phone by silencing it and turning off the notification. You can also consider keeping your phone in another room during work.
- For desktop, you can use software like Stay Focused to avoid wasting time on social media websites.
- Using relaxing music and sometimes noise cancellation headphones may be used.
While working from home provides a sense of freedom and flexibility and a no-cost commute, there are hidden stressors one needs to be aware of. Therefore, by focusing on what you can do to mitigate this stress, you can improve your overall work-life balance and general well-being.
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