As the gig economy took hold over the past couple of years some employees have had the opportunity to work remotely with all the benefits for both their employer and themselves that it entails. Remote working is not, however, without its stresses and never more so than now. For many over the past two weeks, working for home is the new norm. Leaving aside the stress that you may feel due to these utterly unprecedented circumstances; what it means for our families, our communities and our businesses, remote working does, even in ‘normal’ circumstances, pose a number of challenges.
For those who need the strict structure of the office, motivation and focus while working from home can be an issue. If you are not used to feeling unmotivated this can come as a surprise and can get you down. The increased reliance on mobile devices like laptops and phones are proven to be linked to higher stress levels anyway and naturally, when working from home, you will have a total reliance on these devices. Everything will be done via a screen from your day to day work to the daily/weekly meetings you are used to having face to face. It changes the dynamic enormously when this is something you are not used to. You may have a very natural, focused routine when going in and out of the office everyday and that can be difficult to replicate at home.
Isolation is a big issue when working from home too. Now, quite rightly, we are encouraged to isolate to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. With added pressure both personally and within our businesses there may be a greater sense of duty to the company you work for. Everyone wants to pull together to ensure survival of the business and that may mean you are not ‘switching off’ and staying online well past your normal working hours. The constant ‘on’ mode just compounds those stress levels and doesn’t help anyone.
So, what can you do to alleviate that stress? Fortunately, there are lots of tools at your disposal.
Routine is King
If possible, clearly define your work space and your work hours rather than working when you can find the time. This isn’t the easiest thing to do right now. Many of you are probably balancing remote working with home schooling! Not an easy feat. But try. It means that when you finish work for the day you can leave that space and your work devices behind you. There are numerous apps out there between online calendars and to do lists, so research what might work for you and make use of technology that will aid you setting up a stress free (or at least a reduced stress) working day.
Stay connected with your network
Create your own supportive network of colleagues. They are most likely in the exact same situation as yourself. If feelings of isolation are setting in, it can be difficult to remain productive so check in regularly with your co-workers, even if its just for a quick chat. We recently put together some tips for maintaining that human connection while working from home. Click here to read more.
Time for a reward
Your focus is of course on getting the work done and meeting your deadlines but while doing the job diligently make sure you factor in some rewards. Treat yourself to a short break and a cuppa, maybe while catching up with someone from your network online. Try to fit in fresh air or exercise during your work day. The odd short break will sharpen your focus and ensure a much better remote working experience.