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Insurance Article

Work from home challenges and how to overcome them

July 21 2020
Adverse impact of working from home can lead to a burnout. Here’s how you can avoid it.
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Adverse impact of working from home can lead to a burnout. Here’s how you can avoid it.


Who knew work from home would be this challenging?! In a parallel, utopian life, COVID-19 wouldn’t exist and work from home would be a seamless affair; an effortless juggling of professional responsibilities and personal chores. The reality is a bit more ‘catch’ and miss kind.

We’re perpetually anxious, dogged by a constant feeling of annoyance, underachievement and exhaustion. This could stem from the fact that our social interactions and outdoor time have become very limited. We’re filling this void with all sorts of ‘feel-better’ activities. From feng-shui-ng our work spaces to Mary Kondo-‘ing’ our entire home, to going through countless work from home tips - we’re trying it all. No, seriously! Google shows a marked increase in the search for work from tips since the start of the pandemic.

Work from home tips

Another reason could be our work-life itself! That, more than any other aspect of our life, has been impacted by the pandemic. Let’s focus on some of the challenges that we may be facing while working from home. A research by Michael Leiter from University of Deakin and Christina Maslach, published in 1999, identifies six areas of work life that have an impact on us. Any imbalance in these areas is bound to have an effect on us.

We’re taking a closer look at these areas marked out by the researchers and how they factor into the present day scenario, to better arrive at work from home tips that would actually work for you!

Workload

One of the assumptions about the work from home routine was that it would give us the time for personal pursuits as well. Since we no longer had to spend hours commuting or weren’t bound by office timings, we could do a lot more in the same amount of time. Cut to the present, the general feeling is that our workload has only increased. Because we’re working from home, the lines between office and after-office hours have become more blurred and in some cases, non-existent. If you feel continuously exhausted and overworked rethink the following:

  • Your work schedule.
  • Saying yes to everything.
  • Not setting aside time where you’re doing nothing!
  • Ignoring your hobbies or workout regime.

Also read: Easy ways to start prioritising your mental health

Control

It’s easier to set boundaries when you’re working out of an office space. In that respect, working from home can be a challenge. You can just switch off from work the moment you walk out of the office doors. At home, it’s more difficult to completely disengage. There’s a lack of structure that leads to extremes. You either tend to master your procrastination skills or you feel the need to constantly check mails, reply to them, and answer all calls to maximize your productivity. The former creates a daunting backlog of work. The latter leaves very little time for other equally important stuff like cooking a proper meal, doing the laundry, stocking on grocery. Soon you start to feel like you no longer have a handle on things. This lack of control, too, can easily spur anxiety. Here’s how can avoid this downward spiral:

  • Set aside a designated time to get off work.
  • Try not to reply to mails or calls unless absolutely necessary.
  • Cook yourself a proper meal- a work from home ‘tip’ we swear by!
  • Do the adult stuff- like paying the bills on time and ensuring you have health insurance that provides adequate coverage.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t finished every single office task.
  • Prioritise your tasks every day!

Reward

Has your feedback been ignored? Put in long hours for a project only to see it shelved? Feel demotivated or uninspired? If yes, then this can add to the anxiety you might already be experiencing while working from home. We feel you! After all a little pat on the back goes a long way. But if you don’t see that pat coming, it’s easy to feel and believe that your work has been overlooked or gone unnoticed. Here’s what you can do about it:

  • List down the projects and the work you’ve put into each, against them.
  • If you don’t get to interact often with your superior(s), write a mail to him/her mentioning the above.
  • Take those leaves and give yourself some TLC! This is a great way to reward yourself.

Community

One of the biggest work-from-home challenges has been to not in give into that feeling of isolation. When you’re in the midst of people inspirations come easily, discussions bring about improvement to an idea and the banter keeps your spirits up. If you’re working home and living alone, this sense of isolation is amplified. Here’s how you can counter it:

  • Ensure you are catching up with your team on a regular basis.
  • Schedule calls with various stake-holders. This will help you to always be in the know and on top of developments that may be taking place in other teams.
  • Appreciate good work when you see it! Drop in a short mail or text letting someone know that you really liked their work.

Fairness

Do you feel that you’re not being treated fairly at work? Do other people get the appreciation that you deserve? You feel left out of discussions? It’s ok to feel all that and more! But it’s not alright to let these feelings overwhelm you to a debilitating extent. Here’s a way that will help you deal with it better:

  • Talk it out! People have a blind spot at times. Pointing out your contribution or their biases in a polite manner may rectify the situation.
  • Write a review