Work from Home Stress: Causes and How To Cope

dealing with working from home stress

Working from home has its perks – no commuting to the office, work from anywhere, wearing pyjamas all day and no direct supervision.  

However, on the other hand, working from home has come with its challenges and if you don’t take time to manage the stress that comes with remote working, you could end up affecting your mental, physical and emotional health. 

What are some of the challenges people are experiencing from working remotely?

Too Many Distractions

children disturbing mum when working

There is always something else you can do at home compared to when you’re in the office such as:

  • Watching TV
  • Spending a lot of time on social media
  • Ordering and receiving packages
  • Talking on the phone with friends or family
  • Taking naps during the day
  • Planning your children’s schedule
  • Doing chores around the house
  • Trying to avoid noise disruptions

No Working Structure

It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with work especially if you don’t have a schedule for your days. Sometimes you will work throughout the day without taking any breaks in between or working until late at night because you don’t have to move around or you have not set specific working hours. 

Additionally, you have a home to run. You have to eat. If you don’t have someone to prepare meals for you, that’s your responsibility which can take up your time.   

Our homes have been our comfort spaces, but they’ve been transformed to perform different functions – resting, working, exercising and socializing with friends. 

Not having a specific area set aside for work reduces motivation to sit and focus leading to decreased productivity and lagging causing stress. 

No Boundaries

woman catching up with freinds on the phone

People who know you’re working from home can take advantage of the fact that you’re your “own boss”. They could ask for your assistance in running errands, visit you or speak to you for long hours which will eat into your working time. 

This means you won’t have enough time to complete the tasks you had planned for the day. Or will leave you feeling bad about saying no especially if you get a request from your family. 

No Physical Activity

Remote working means longer hours of sitting in one spot and less movement around the house which can impact your mental health. Because you’ll feel less tired during the day, it could get harder for you to fall asleep which causes you to stay up late either watching a movie or scrolling through social media. 

The next day becomes stressful because you are not well-rested which will impact your productivity.   

Feelings of Loneliness

Humans are known to be social creatures. We were not built for a life of constant isolation. That’s why many people are feeling lonely and emotionally stressed from prolonged hours and days of working from home.

Isolation reduces emotional wellbeing, team productivity and could lead to depression from lack of interaction with people. 

And not forgetting the constant calls now that we can’t be together physically in the office. They might seem like a good avenue to catch up with colleagues, but they are exhausting and make you feel worn out. 

How to Avoid Burnout from Working from Home

woman meditating in her home

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your health especially now more than ever. Below are some ways you can manage the stress of working from home. 

Have a Dedicated Workspace

It’s tempting to work from the comfort of your bed or on the sofa because of all the freedom that comes with working from home. However, you will start experiencing body aches from poor posture and it will be difficult for you to separate your home life and work life.  

Create a home office that is solely for work will train your mind to know when it is time to work.  

Create a Routine

We can’t stress the importance of having a routine to make working from home bearable. 

  • Have a specific time for sleeping and getting up
  • Create specific working hours and stick to them
  • Set regular times for your lunch breaks
  • Talk a walk and get some fresh air 

Minimise on Distractions

Emergencies do come up. Which will require your attention. However, some distractions can be avoided. 

  • When it is time to work, try and avoid checking social media which could eat into your time unless you’re a content creator. 
  • Turn off notifications from your devices unless it’s work-related. Whatsapp messages can eat into your time tremendously. 
  • Learn to say no to your family and friends when they request you do something for them during your work hours.  
  • Turn off the television when you’re working and only watch it in the evening when you are relaxing.
  • Carry yourself the way you would in the office. Respect your working hours at home, take breaks when necessary and create the discipline needed to get through the day. 

Catch up With Friends

To avoid feeling isolated, set up some time to speak to your friends when it is convenient for both of you. You could video call one another or open a group chat where you can share stories and memes to make you happy. 

Take Care of Yourself

To perform exceptionally well at your job, you need to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. Take some time to:

  • Exercise
  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk
  • Listen to music
  • Enjoy a good meal
  • Meditate (if it’s your thing)
  • Get enough hours of sleep
  • Watch your favourite show
  • Stretch your body throughout the day

And remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance when things get overwhelming or you feel you are not ok. 

Working from home comes with its benefits. But it could also get stressful if you don’t manage your time well and separate your work and home life. This is the key to creating a healthy working situation which will overall lead to work-life balance. 

Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya
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