Working from home has its perks: There’s no commute, delayed trains, or traffic. You can sleep in later and get away with pairing a dress shirt with sweatpants.
However, there are plenty of drawbacks. Even before COVID-19 turned many of our homes into offices, a 2017 United Nations report revealed that more than 40 percent of remote workers had high stress levels, compared to 25 percent of office employees. This is likely because, without a commute or office space, it’s easy to blur the lines between when a workday starts and ends. There’s also less face-to-face conversation, and it can be difficult to read tone via Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email. Your boss may have sent a quick note that they feel is kind, but you may feel the one-sentence response says, “They are annoyed at me.”
If you’re feeling burnt out while working from home, you might need a few stress relief tips for the office, even if that office is your kitchen.
A common stress relief tip for the office is to interact with your colleagues. In an office, this is easier since you may make small talk while pouring coffee or go out to lunch with a co-worker. It’s harder to have these impromptu conversations from home, and that may leave you feeling lonely. Try to manufacture these interactions and, instead of Slacking or emailing a co-worker, pick up the phone.
This call may feel like yet another thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be a long conversation. A new study suggests talking on the phone for just ten minutes can reduce loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Consider calling your manager to clarify a task or catch up with your co-worker over a lunch break.
If you’re overwhelmed or feel like the boundaries between work and home are consistently blurred, have an honest conversation with your boss. They can help you find stress relief tips for the office or work with you to decrease email traffic. Ask your boss how they expect you to handle off-hours emails, and work together to set boundaries around when you will and won’t be reachable.
If your boss is the main culprit of all-hours emails and Slacks, try to address that tactfully. There’s a chance they’re just sending the email to check off their to-do list and don’t expect you to respond. If “everything” requires immediate attention, work together to figure out how to get more done during the day. Perhaps you can schedule check-ins in the morning and evening to go over what you have done and what is left to do, so nothing pops up unexpectedly at 8 p.m.
It’s easy to tell yourself, “I’m going to log off at 5:30 p.m.” It’s harder to stop yourself from scrolling through emails and Slacks in bed. If your boss isn’t expecting you to respond or “always be on,” it’s up to you to maintain established boundaries. Consider removing work-related messaging apps like Teams, Slack, or email from your phone or at least turning off notifications before logging off. Removing the temptation may prevent the need to check in.
As annoying as your daily commute may be, it effectively signals the beginning and end to your workday. Without a train to catch or traffic to beat, switching from home to work mode can be difficult. As a result, you lose yourself in your job and keep plugging away for longer, defeating the whole “work-life balance” benefit of working from home.
Combat this by giving yourself something to do every morning and night. This routine might include taking a walk around the block in place of your usual walk to and from your car or subway stop. Further, if you have the space, try not to work in the same place you sleep. Find a corner of the living room to set up your work station, or erect a partition in your room between the desk and the bed. These little changes can help you mentally leave work, even if you can’t do it physically.
In the office, you may get to enjoy impromptu moments, such as a birthday celebration or a co-worker who brought sweet treats for everyone “just because.” These tiny moments help break up your day and take your eyes off the screen. You may not be able to enjoy that while working from home, but other office-related stress relief tips are still applicable. A 2016 study found that yoga reduced stress, so it’s a helpful activity can try if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Luckily, you don’t need a studio to practice your flow so you can work on your downward dog, cat-cow, and seated pigeon from the comfort of your home for just a few minutes at a time.
Working from home has its perks, but there are definitely some cons, too. If you’re lonely or burnt out at work, figure out how to separate your work and home life and incorporate stress relief practices into your day. Advocate for yourself when you need assistance, and don’t be afraid to take a few minutes to yourself to breathe, reset, and start again.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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