When the pandemic hit in 2020, life came to a standstill. Everything was so sudden and all of us went on auto-pilot to help fight the deadly COVID-19. What felt initially as a boon, later on, turned out to be one of the causes of Depression and Anxiety. In this article, we will explore the various facets of work from home and share some effective strategies to help take on the New Normal.
Let’s take a sweet stroll down the memory lane not so far ago when working from home meant less tension and more relaxation. No commute, No wearing formal attires, no long meetings, and no TGIF’s. We embraced the new normal by following the viral trends on social media – be it trying out new dishes like dalgona coffee, dusting our musical instrument, or setting up calls just to speak with your friends and family, we did it all.
Work from home was in practise even before the advancement of technology, in the medieval times people would set up craft and trade focused shops in their homes, these homes were architecturally designed to accommodate designated work spaces for people to earn their livelihood as well as spend their earnings on their near and dear ones. Thus, work from home hasn’t been an alien concept after all.
Soon, wives started doing home business and marketing from their homes. Be it selling home products or setting up a grooming/beauty space has also clearly indicated the onset of work from home culture. In the 1990s, after the internet revolution, India got a breakthrough as western countries outsourced most of their processes to India. This was a milestone in the work from home culture.
Here are some wow’s of work from home:
- Flexible Schedule: Work from home really allows you to plan and organize your day better. Flexible working includes the convenience of working from the couch. This also allows you to stay focused as the peer interaction is minimal with no coffee breaks. It also allows you to complete important personal paperwork and to take multiple breaks to stretch and decompress. It also helps you eat on time and keep the biological clock at its optimum level.
- Less commute stress: A survey conducted by News 18 in 2019 revealed that more than 56% of the population are stressed because of the daily commute. According to Psychology India, this is also a stress that doesn’t “Pay”. If you live in a metropolitan area, then you spend 1/4th of your day just in traffic jams. With work from home, you have no travel hassles and can start your work on a fresh note every single day.
- Savings: Work from home helps you to save money on commute and food to a great extent. Since you have the flexibility to manage at work at home, you can save and plan your financial decisions wisely.
- Dedicate time for physical exercise: With a flexible schedule, you can always dedicate time for physical activity, post your important calls/deadlines. Since you save up on the commute time, you can definitely live a healthier life. Studies have shown that engaging in twenty minutes of any physical activity of your choice shows a significant rise in your well-being is positively correlational to happiness.
Here are some woe’s of work from home:
- Lack of community and teamwork: virtual meetings and catch-up rarely instill the sense of oneness when opposed to being there on the ground and experiencing it firsthand. Although work from home gives you the autonomy to choose your work hour, there is always the fear of missing out on all the important milestones you and your company achieve and celebrate.
- Unmonitored performance: since work from home allows you the flexibility to choose your time, it is often dangerous as the company entrusts you with responsibilities and the work involved for it may not be very accurately visible as opposed to being on the floor and getting the work done.
- Coordination: it is difficult to reach out to a friend/colleague for a simple doubt as you need to check their day and availability to discuss even trivial things.by the time you go ahead and set this up, it feels like too much of an effort for a simple issue that can be resolved much more efficient had it not been work from home.
- Burnout : Studies have shown that 78% of employees experienced burnout at some point during a pandemic. This was mainly due to over-working and under recognition. Stress and Burnout are primary concerns that cause mental illness among employees who work from home.
Here are a few tips to strike the correct balance between the wow and woe of work from home
Prioritising important goals for each day will help bring some clarity on what needs to be worked on. Using the 80/20 rule can help in understanding what are the goals that require your attention, while the rest trivial enough can be broken into smaller chunks with realistic timelines.
#2 Go through the traditional route
I am certain that by now all are a “Pro” at saying Am i Audible? Continuous virtual interaction had adverse stress to the eye. Keeping this in mind, try to take phone calls instead of zoom meetings whenever you can, this allows you to relax and focus on the task at hand.
#3 Define and structure your work and non-work boundaries
Although this is easier said than done, try to organise your day effectively. Make a to-do list for both and prioritise on one goal a day. For eg: send a mail to peter / get the laundry done today. By specifying what needs to be done helps our mind to work around the timelines accordingly.
#4 Take some time off
Yes, take a mini vacation every now and then. This helps you rejuvenate and come back stronger with a fresh perspective. Even having a digital detox day will suffice. Go to parks or take a nature walk, try infusing a little bit of what you love at least once a week.
#5 Set up a self-care routine
Do what makes you happy, I know this sounds cheesy, but it really works. Set up a simple routine to take care of yourself and by this I do not mean taking care of your physical well-being (grooming, pampering etc) but also including a mental health self-care routine (checking on yourself once a while, connecting with your soul through yoga, meditation etc)
#6 Say No
You do not have to overburden yourself with additional responsibilities at work. As long as you are able to complete what your role entitles effectively, that should suffice. If you feel burnt out or stressed, it’s better to let your manager know so that you can recoup and re-energize.
Presenteeism has far more ill effects when compared to people who take the time off and come back to work. So use your casual leaves and take mental health day breaks.
Ensure that every once in two you get up from your seat and hydrate yourself. Do some simple stretches that help you deal with back and shoulder pain. Progressive muscle relaxation techniques are very helpful in this regard.
#8 See a therapist
If you feel stressed and tired most of the time, there could be a lot of underlying concerns that are left unattended. Speaking to a therapist will help us understand how to cope and channelise these concerns.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A. This is very common and the back pain is usually stress related. Speaking to an expert can help you address these concerns effectively.
A. Yes, taking the first step towards taking care of yourself is the most difficult and challenging, however, attaching a personal goal to it will help you stay motivated and consistent.
A. You could click on the link above and it will direct you to the psychologist’s page, scroll through and pick your psychologist and get started on the beautiful journey of discovering yourself.