Can Working From Home Make You Tired?
It may seem quite ironic, but can working from home make you tired? Yes, it is possible! Working from home can make you tired especially in these COVID-19 times which have caused fundamental changes in how we work.
As you read this, you are probably working from home and trying to discover new ways of getting work done with less fatigue. I mean, it feels as though you hopped out of bed right into work, right?
The real question is, you are at the reach of your favorite snacks, and you are not dashing from one meeting room to another, nor driving from customer site to customer site. So why are you still feeling so worn out at the end of the day?
Well, the science behind it is simple. Working from home is not equal to less work. Neither does working from home equate to your work is any easier. This is because you are still using the same, if not more, amount of mental power and capacity to complete the tasks and/or projects at hand.
Now that we have established the irony of working from home and still feeling tired, how can we manage the fatigue? You are in the right place. There are several solutions when it comes to getting rid of working from home fatigue. These solutions range from taking micro-breaks, outsourcing the tasks that you can, and more! In this article, I will share more on these solutions. Ready? Let’s dig in.
Solutions to Getting Less Tired from Working at Home
It is highly advisable to take a breather between meetings. When having a meeting in person, there is usually a brief break to reset before going back to work.
Even if you are in the comfort of your home, utilize that break. Even if it means taking a five-minute walk outside or heading over to your kitchen shelf to grab a snack.
Little actions such as these may seem small and unnecessary, but they offer significant contribution to refresh your mental energy. Do not underestimate what a ten-minute stretch can do to your overall energy, and subsequently, your workflow.
When it comes to taking micro-breaks, the 90/20 rule is quite famous. It involves working with a full-on focus for a good and solid 90 minutes and then taking a 20-minute break. The break is often advised to be a no-social-media, no-email break.
Performing a mindfulness meditation or having a catch-up conversation with a roommate and/or family member is advised during your 20-minute break.
The point of taking a micro-break is to feel refreshed enough for the next 90 minutes of work filled with undivided attention, and concentration.
2. Outsource What You Cannot Do
If you are financially able to do so, outsource services like delivery of groceries, day-care, and babysitting options. You could also hire house cleaners who will follow rigorous pandemic protocols when it comes to cleaning your home.
Additionally, try to connect with a personal (virtual) trainer who will motivate you to exercise regularly. In a time of extreme economic insecurity, hiring the services of other workers will not only help you but also help them stay afloat.
Productivity coach and author of The Joy Of Missing Out: Live More By Doing Less, Tanya Dalton, advises that just because you are home does not mean that you have got to do it all by yourself.
Part of the reason working from home can make you feel overly exhausted is taking on too much because you feel you can handle it all. Your time and physical, as well as mental energy have got their limits. You have limited energy to use within 24 hours. Avoid trying to stretch yourself beyond your capacity.
3.Make Phone Calls When Ever Possible
Undoubtedly, the era of COVID-19 has brought back an increase in video calls and teleconferencing. The majority of remote workers feel the need to be immensely focused and present whilst they are on a video call.
Now do not get me wrong here, you must be mentally and physically present in video conferences, however, issues such as minor technical disconnections end up making such meetings more tiring.
Your brain is prone to work slightly harder to try and process what is going on during a video conference meeting that has got five people speaking but all have got a minor lag. It is important to prioritize. If the meeting is just to check up on everyone and how they are generally doing, a phone call should work just fine.
However, if the meeting is a discussion on the brand’s expansion strategies, then a video conference is necessary. But if not you can request or ask if a phone call can instead be the order of the day in such situations. There is never any harm in asking.
4.Schedule Meetings Only When Necessary
Working from home does not mean that every discussion must be conducted via zoom or phone call meeting. If the meeting can be replaced with an email, then do so. This is especially true for communication that involves quick status updates and/or questions.
In addition to that, when a situation or discussion is better conducted in a meeting, try to keep the meeting brief and direct. One-hour meetings can easily be shortened to 40-45 minutes.
For example, a meeting that discusses the company’s profit for the month has been scheduled. A great way to cut down on the duration of the meeting is by ensuring that every attendee has got access to the PowerPoint presentation, graphs, and other related materials.
That way, when you refer to a certain issue in your presentation, the rest would be self-explainable as everyone in the meeting already knows what you are referring to.
5. Work In A designated Work Space
When it comes to working from home fatigue, the most effective remedy is to not work from your bed. The pillows and warm duvet/blanket may seem ideal, especially on a cold, winter day.
However, two problems arise from working on your bed, whether you have sat up or you are laying down. The first problem is incorrect sitting posture, which often leads to back pain and other posture-related health issues.
The second problem is that it is harder for your brain to switch to serious work mode as it is still in the environment associated with resting. It is therefore important to make or rather designate an official space to work.
A simple home office does not have to be anything fancy or luxurious. A basic desk/table and chair, with some space for your folders and/or laptop, will do. Working in a designated working space will help your brain and body smoothly transition into work mode and rest mode much better.
6. Watch Your Sitting Posture
The wrong sitting posture will either strain and/or injure your muscles, joints, and overall body. Sometimes it may be muscle fatigue from incorrect sitting posture. While working at your workspace station, the desk or table must be within the correct work height.
The industry standard is 29 inches off the floor up to the top of your desk or table. However, for tall people then a higher height would be ideal for you. Likewise, if you are a shorter person then a lower height will be ideal for you.
The best way to know if your workspace station is ideal for work is by paying attention to your posture when you sit up straight at your desk or table. Your forearms ought to be parallel to the ground while your wrists are neither bent up or down when you type or move the mouse.
The top surface of your wrist and the top of your forearm must be on the same plane.
7. Define Work & Non-Work Boundaries
Work and non-work boundaries are worth it all. These boundaries are deserving of thought and attention. If not addressed and properly handled, an imbalance between the two is reported to trigger feelings of stress and anxiety.
In addition to that, the imbalance could go ahead and endanger your professional and personal life. It is important to draw the line on when and how you will work. It is very tempting to mix work and non-work activities since you are working from home. The habit is not healthy.
If your hours of work are from 8 am to 6 pm, then there’s no need to be at a video conference meeting that is going to last over one hour at 9 pm.
Also, it is no secret that working from home may tempt you into trying to get in extra hours. If done in moderation, it is not a bad thing. Besides, no one minds chiming in a few extra coins.
However, do not eat into your rest time daily all in the name of working overtime. If your work shift runs from 6 am to 4 pm, work within those hours and rest sufficiently after you clock out. 90% of working from home fatigue is a result of constantly overworking.
In your true form, you are made of blood and flesh, not metal, you do not run on fuel. As you give your work time and effort, do the same in your personal life. Work when you are supposed to be working, and rest when you are supposed to be resting. In between, ensure that you also give time to family, friends, and meditation as well as exercise.
There is nothing wrong with doing extra work from time to time. However, it should not be at the expense of your mental and physical health.
8.Take Time Off
Before working from home, you were excited to take on your leave/vacation days, right? Days and/or weeks away from work often gave you a complete break and time to rest without much stress.
So why aren’t you considering taking leave/vacation days off even while working from home? Infact the fact that you work from home means you need a vacation from that environment to recharge and rest. If you can, take a whole week off where you can disconnect from work and get reacquainted with your family, friends, hobbies, or other interests. Important to note is, however you decide to use/spend your time off, do so wisely.
During your time off, avoid taking up last-minute projects, answering emails, and showing up to (online) meetings. While they are still a part of your work, doing so while taking time off will only cut down the amount of time that you have got off. Knowing when to work and when not to work, especially when taking time off will help you better establish worn and non-work boundaries.
9. Double Up On Self-Care Practices
While you may not always go to your favorite spa or nail tech salon, your self-care practices do not have to become non-existent. There are innumerable ways to take care of yourself.
The first is through maintaining a balanced diet. Coffee and toast with snacks in between every day are not going to sustain your energy for long. Make sure that you eat healthy food.
Working from home can be quite draining, so take time to listen to inspiring TED talks while you do housework or try taking up virtual dance lessons to re-energize. If you prefer some peace, open your window and practice some restorative type of movements such as Yoga or Tai Chi.
A Final Note
In conclusion, if adapted properly, the above remedies could help reduce your home fatigue significantly.
Always remember to
- take micro-breaks
- schedule meetings when necessary
- convert some into phone calls if a video conference is not necessary.
- Do not underestimate the importance of working in a designated space rather than your bed and/or couch.
- Defining your work and non-work boundaries is very important and
- remember to always work within your hours.
- Make it a daily habit to allocate time for self-care practices such as meditating or a light 30-minute workout.
- Last but not least, even if you are working from home, do not hesitate to take a week’s leave to just being away from work to relax and rest.
For more information please also see the article BEST PRACTICES FOR WORKING FROM HOME - 10 BIGGEST DOS-AND-DON’TS.