This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Simon Choi.
With the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find yourself working from home more often recently. COVID-19 aside, you may also have a flexible job that allows you to work from home. Before this happened, you probably thought that working from home was perfect because it meant no commute-related stress and very flexible working hours.
However, many workers unaccustomed to working for such long periods at home especially have missed the social atmosphere and more suitable spaces offered by offices or coworking spaces. A coworking space can offer a sense of variety in work environments and potentially good networking opportunities.
While many people think that working from home will help them achieve the needed work-life-balance, those who find themselves working from home have higher reported cases of stress. This is attributed to a lack of structure, many distractions, and not setting boundaries between your work schedule and home duties.
Here are some tips on how you can reduce stress levels when working from home and ultimately achieve your goals:
1. Have a Schedule and Stick to It
Set a realistic schedule and make sure to stick to the schedule. It is important that you adhere to the schedule even when you do not feel like it. If you wait to work when you feel like, you may get many distractions that will end up eating your time. This will lead to carrying forward a lot of work hence increasing your stress levels.
Sticking to a schedule is vital. When making a work from home schedule, consider the time you are most productive, work best, and prioritize to start working on the difficult tasks first.
2. Create a Support Network and Stay Connected
Feeling lonely and isolated can significantly lower your energy levels making it stressful to work from home. If you constantly feel lonely when working from home, it is vital that you build your social life.
You can start by creating a socializing group for a group of colleagues, like-minded individuals, or work-at-home friends. You can use social media to create these groups and occasionally plan for meet-ups or even chat in those groups. You can also opt to search for existing groups and join.
3. Get Enough Sleep and Avoid Using Mobile Devices Before Bed
Using mobile devices and screens before you sleep can affect your sleeping patterns. Further, it can make you stay awake during the night. If you want maximum productivity, it is important that you get enough sleep.
You can set a bedtime and ensure that you adhere to it. This might be difficult at first, but the rewards are worth it. You will notice an increase in productivity and a reduction in stress levels if you have enough sleep.
4. Don’t Shy Away From Asking For Help
Working from home does not mean that you should manage the house and work without requesting for help. Taking on many tasks without seeking help can lead to increased stress levels.
If you need assistance in managing your house activities and work, seek it from available sources such as your spouse, family, friends, or even your children. Learn how to delegate tasks both at home and at work, and do not accept more than you can handle.
5. Go for a Walk or Create a Home Workout Routine
You may notice that you are not getting enough or any exercise while working from home. Take breaks and use the breaks to go for a walk or even a jog. Incorporate a home workout routine to your schedule and you will find this quite beneficial.
There are websites that offer guidelines on how you can work out from home based on the equipment you have at home while others offer a guide to a no equipment home workout. There are numerous options that you can evaluate and choose the best.
Finding an option and beginning your home workout routine will ensure that you maintain good physical and mental health while working from home.
Working from home offers a sense of flexibility, freedom and helps save certain costs such as commute expenses. However, there are certain hidden disadvantages that you may not be aware of that can increase your stress levels.
If you focus on how you can reduce the factors that are causing you stress, you can enjoy working from home, be very productive, and ultimately achieve your goal of having a work-life balance.
There are a range of further up-to-date mental health resources available if you are still struggling or need more advice. Consider whether a coworking space is suitable for you especially if you are a freelancer or entrepreneur. It may offer variety and benefit your personal preferences.
About the Author
Simon Choi is a mental health advocate and small business founder. He founded Standout Bands which supports Beyond Blue and allows him to write for his mental health blog, Healthy Minds. Currently, Simon is supporting those struggling as a result of COVID-19 related mental health issues. He writes on psychology, mental health, and business.