It has been more than a year of overcoming challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the virus still present, employees of different industries have forcibly been asked to work at home and adapt a remote work lifestyle.
In these trying times, working from home (WFH) has been a policy of extreme importance for most governments. However, this poses a lot of restrictions and limitations on the part of the employee being imposed with the new norm of working.
In a survey to 1,214 individuals conducted by the Martec Group (2020), as cited in Forbes, majority of the employee-respondents do not like working from home. Twenty seven percent did not like it but thinks their company is doing its best. Thirty two percent of the employees have realized and already disliked the work setup but also do not think that their company is doing good enough in handling the COVID situation. Although these figures are present, it is still safe to assume that there are people who are into it. However, it is really not meant for all.
While some are thriving and lauds the remote work lifestyle, people from the other end of the rainbow are struggling with a few disadvantages such as the following:
- social isolation
- increased utility bills that the home office setup entails
- mental health risks like work-life imbalance, overworking, unproductivity, demotivation and depression
- distractions and nuisance at home
- disconnected colleagues and barriers in internal communications
Nevertheless, there are ways to counteract these drawbacks with the pocket of a few tips:
Demarcate the bedroom and workspace.
You are lucky if you can designate a different room for your home office. If not though, your bedroom can coexist with your workspace but you need to draw the line between rest and work. As human beings we tend to “acclimatize” with our surroundings, that means our brain is put to a resting mood when we are in the bedroom and work whenever we are in the office. Work is contradictory to rest, that is why your bed could be your number one challenge as it might look inviting to you and get tempted to be unproductive the entire day or so.
Setup your workspace.
It is always assumed that employees in an ideal physical working environment are more likely to produce better outcomes. This is why your work setup at home needs to be fitting as well. The office setup is designed ergonomically so an employee can work comfortably and at ease. The same should be true for your home office. Invest in a cozy swivel chair, an office table, good ventilation and ample lighting too. Once a real office environment is mimicked, improved work concentration and productivity can possibly be achieved.
Work within your work hours.
In the old normal, you were used to working within a prescribed time and the same should be in the telecommuting setup. Refrain doing household chores in between your breaks and within your shift. Time saved from “focused” working provides more time for errands and quality time with your family. If you want to finish early, start early and innovate ways to get the task done with accuracy and efficiency. If it will help, groom yourself as if you are really reporting for work. This will help your brain be conditioned to be on an “auto-pilot mode”.
Control what you eat.
A lot of people have turned to food for comfort during this time of the pandemic and while this can be a cause for eating disorders, it is never too late to realize healthier options and switching to greener plates. Green leafy vegetables are linked to better brain power. They are rich in vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene. A plant-based food also helps in slowing cognitive decline. Wise food decisions can allow for healthier lifestyle outcomes.
Disconnect before it’s too late.
Get rid of everything that radiates negativity, nuisance and noise. These will only cause you disturbance, trigger anger and stress. Form a habit of not opening your social media while you are working. A quiet place or lo-fi music can help you gain more focus and increase productivity, not your Facebook news feed.
Human beings are social creatures. The more interactions we make, the less lonely we feel. Even in this quarantine situation, introverts may still face an isolation saturation stage where they just “cannot take it anymore!” – the one ill with the cabin fever might say.
Cabin fever is a term for a relatively common reaction to being isolated or confined for long periods of time. This feeling of isolation can manifest various different behaviors, emotions and physical and psychological symptoms. To avoid this, make casual conversations with friends via a web conferencing app or simply drop a person you like a call. You can also reach out to a life coach for coping strategies. They have tricks up their sleeves that can assure you can still get going no matter how tough living in this pandemic gets.
Make causes for a simple celebration to divert your attention even for a while. When work from home gets monotonous and boring, find ways to enjoy yourself. In maybe one of the weekends, enjoy a good movie with your family. Give yourself time for that new hobby you have been dying to start. Get on a group video chat with your friends and have Saturday wine nights. Or, if you are feeling a little generous to yourself, take advantage of shipping discounts and buy a new dress or a new pair of shoes. Rewards like this are worth looking forward to and keep you on the move.
Sleep and sleep well.
Invest in a nice pillow, blanket that feels like a hug and an air humidifier, plus a glass of wine, too! Something that you can await with pleasure at the end of the day. These things have a positive impact on sleep quality so you wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to do everything again.
Amidst these times of stress and uncertainty, the biggest factor you always have to consider would be your mental health. Reaching out to people and maintaining a healthy lifestyle despite being confined at home can do your mind and body good. Your immune system will thank you later for that.