Were you one of the 49% of British workers who worked from home during lockdown? If so, you might not be heading back into the office just yet.
For some workers, moving to home turf to do the day job has been a largely positive experience. However, for others, this shift has had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, causing stress levels to rise and an increase in feelings of isolation – and these feelings are nothing new.
According to a 2017 study by the United Nations, which looked at 15 countries including the UK, US, and India, 41% of employees who mostly worked from home said they were highly stressed. And in his 2014 report, ‘Wat als we Nieuw gaan Werken?’ (What if we Start Working New?’), Belgium-based academic, Henrik Delagrange found that there is a higher risk of burnout for those who work longer hours remotely.
While the stats are negative here, there are ways to find the balance. If we’re feeling overwhelmed while working from home, here are some ways to handle those stressful feelings.
Have something to look forward to
When did you last book a holiday? Lockdown has meant that many of us aren’t taking the holidays we usually would, but it’s important to have a break, even if you’ve not got anything planned.
Also, there are some big events coming up that can help to restore some sense of normality. Halloween and Christmas are just a few months away so why not start shopping for these? Have a look at sweet treats, such as Christmas chocolate hampers, to really get into the festive spirit.
Take a time out
It can be easy to not take any breaks while you’re getting through your daily to-do list. But walking away from your computer and doing something unconnected for 10 minutes can help you switch off for a while. By doing this, you are resetting your mind and you may find that you’re able to focus on what you’re working on in a more productive way.
Set a schedule
We’re connected to work 24/7, thanks to technology. This makes it increasingly difficult to switch off our computer when the working day is over.
However, if you’re finding that your work life is creeping into your downtime, it might be worth setting yourself a schedule – and sticking to it. Decide on what you’ll be doing at 9am, 11am, and after lunch so that you have tasks to do and a rough time to complete them by and this will allow you to methodically get through your to-do list and give you the chance to plan ahead for the rest of the week.
Download an app
There are lots of mindfulness apps that are available right now, and, while they’re all slightly different, their common aim is to help you feel calmer and less stressed. Calm, Headspace, and Aura are just some of the apps that are available on iOS and Android devices, and as they’re designed for your phone, you can take them with you and access them when you need a break or are starting to feel overwhelmed.
Speak to someone
If you’re finding things tough, speak to colleagues or, if you feel you need to let your manager know, arrange a meeting with them. Your manager should be able to offer some advice or point you in the direction of support services.
Should you feel that you need professional support, there are lots of services to help. Mind has a lot of resources online that can help you take the steps to manage stress.
Working from home doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your wellbeing. It’s important to know that you’re not alone.