Remote work has been a popular job perk for a while, but the pandemic accelerated the practice. Before coronavirus began, frequent teleworking was at 23 percent, but in early 2022, that number has risen to 59 percent. Working from home can bring its own challenges, though, including a struggle for work-life balance, but there are things you can do to protect your well-being when your office is also your home.
Remote Work and Stress
First, the good news. Remote work has shown mental health benefits, including reduced stress. You eliminate the daily commute during peak traffic hours, and you no longer have to deal with the constant interruptions of being in an office surrounded by people.
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But there are some downsides, especially for full-time remote workers. It can be easy to feel pushed out of the group, especially if some of your coworkers are in the same building together. It's also much tougher to make the disconnect between home and work life that happens when you go to a separate location every day.
Consider also: Remote Work Really Is Making the Day Longer
Separate Work and Home Life
When you're working from home, work-life balance can be an issue. It's important to set boundaries so that there's a clear end to the workday and a beginning to your personal time. When the end of the day is over, check out and leave your work behind until the next morning.
There are many benefits to working from home, but with a little time management and some diligence, you can set up a work environment that keeps stress to a minimum.
One of the best ways to make the distinction between work and personal time is to set up a workspace in your home. If you don't have a room with a door that can become your home office, at least set aside a dedicated workspace such as a corner of your living room or an area in your kitchen. If you don't live alone, the biggest challenge could be making it clear that when you're seated there, you're working and shouldn't disturbed unless there's an emergency.
Consider also: 10 Steps to an Organized Home Office
Leaving Your Home Environment
As with working in an office, you may simply not realize the toll that sitting at a desk can take on you. Managing stress throughout the day means eliminating distractions, but when your office is also your home, that means you're seeing the same four walls all day. Find ways to get out of the house, even if it's just a walk around the block for some fresh air.
Self-care is also important when you're working from home. Exercise can do wonders for reducing your stress levels, even if you simply do a quick yoga session in your home office during your lunch break. You can use a meditation app to occasionally decompress when you start to feel the pressures of working hard all day, every day.
Consider also: Remote Work & Your Career
One of the biggest downsides of remote work is the lack of social interaction. Sure, you may see coworkers and clients using apps like Zoom and Slack, but it isn't the same as face-to-face interaction. Even social media serves as a poor substitute for sitting across from a friend at lunch.
But remote employees don't have to sink into social isolation. If other team members are local, schedule an occasional meetup for coffee, lunch or after-work drinks. If not, find a friend or relative you can meet up with occasionally, either before or after work, to get that much-needed interaction.
There are many benefits to working from home, but with a little time management and some diligence, you can set up a work environment that keeps stress to a minimum. If you're new to remote work, give yourself a little time to establish routines and communicate to others in your life that you may be home during the day, but you're working.