The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has caused a major shift in how people work. Suddenly, governments around the world want people to stay indoors and work remotely, using the Internet to access work from home. So working from home has become the new normal.
The shift has come with some major advantages including saving you from the exhausting daily commute, no interactions with nasty co-workers or the controlling boss hovering over your shoulder. You are now just sitting at the comfort of your home videoconferencing, but what you did not know is that the new work arrangement would also come with its set of challenges.
After working from home for a couple of weeks, you suddenly realize that it is no longer fun as you are constantly exhausted. Surely, something must be wrong here but you do not know what.
You have unlimited access to snacks and you are not rushing from room to room in your usual work environment, or from site to site meeting customer demands. So what exactly is the problem?
Here is the explanation:
It was not your choice
One of the basic elements of good mental health is the ability to make choices. The freedom to make choices means that you are also in control of situations.
Since most people were forced to work from home, they had little say in the matter. The inability to choose where to work from comes with frustrations and disorientation which can lead to a constant feeling of exhaustion.
To fix this problem, you need to approach the start of your workday differently and infuse choices in your work. Start by scheduling your videoconferences, and also scheduling when you can take certain tasks and assignments. Try as much as possible to control how your day unfolds and how and when a given project rolls out.
Working too much
One of the major reasons managers did not approve of remote working before the pandemic hit was the feeling that employees would put in less work without the physical, in-person supervision. However, the reality is that remote workers tend to work more compared to employees under physical supervision. Why? Because when you are working from home, your work and personal life are intertwined. In simple words, at home, you do not know where the workday starts and ends as your personal and work life are under the same roof.
As a result, taking breaks to reinvigorate or attend to personal issues becomes a major challenge. Unlike when you leave work at your office at the end of the day when you work from home you will often experience the pull to finish some assignment, which can end up spiraling into an all-night session.
To deal with the possibility of overworking, set personal appointments with yourself for activities you should do at the end of your workday, with reminders on your calendar. These can be as simple as taking 30 minutes to stretch, running in place while you watch a favorite movie, or cooking and eating a meal. This can also help to set expectations if you have others in the house who rely on you.
Time works differently at home
Working from home and at the office are two very different things. Even time works differently. During your normal workday at the office, you spend a substantial amount of time consulting your workmates or catching up with some juicy piece of gossip at the common area.
While you do not feel guilty goofing around at work, a remote worker feels they have wasted precious time if they spend 20 minutes browsing or chatting with friends online.
To avoid this trap, focus on finishing the same number of tasks you finish at the office. If you file two reports while at your workplace, this should be your goal even when working from home. When you finish your daily quota, do not feel compelled to be at your work desk unless you want to drop with fatigue.
While some people find working at home easily and enjoyable, for others it can be tough. Recognizing that it’s normal, and using the above techniques, will give you control over your workday and help in making your day less exhausting.