Is Working From Home Less Stressful?
Whether working from home is less stressful is subject to a lot of debate. Many would say yes. Those preferring the office setting would say no. This then begs the question, "Is working from home less stressful?"
Working from home offers you the chance to achieve a better work-life balance. You can work more efficiently because you can get a lot of work done with minimal distractions. Additionally, it may indeed result in reduced stress levels through the absence of daily commuting to the office. The many costs associated with going to the office are also non-existent.
This post shall cover how remote working causes less stress. It will also highlight why this alternative mode of working is beneficial to our overall health.
How Does Working from Home Reduce Stress?
Picture this. You are trapped in stagnant traffic while time is relentlessly flying by! Isn't that a terrible way to start a working day? And the morning rush to get out of the house is anything but relaxing.
Now picture another scenario. You get out of bed at your own time. You make an awesome breakfast. After driving off the kids off to school, you have the whole house to yourself! I'm pretty sure the second scenario sounds much better, doesn't it?
Boosts your Overall Health
To reduce stress and improve health, the experts recommend things like walking on your break, packing a healthy lunch, and doing calming breathing or stretches at your desk. But how many of us are comfortable doing that at work?
A home office makes it much easier to step back for a few yoga stretches or to take that 10-minute walk. Also, at home, every lunch can be healthy and homemade.
Reduce Work-Life Conflicts
Working from home often means a more flexible schedule. You could plan the start of your day and your afternoon break around school drop-off/pick-up times.
Take a long morning break to go to the gym, or simply enjoy going to a hair appointment without your boss wondering where you went. For the ultimate in flexible scheduling, look for contract or freelance positions.
Create A Relaxing Workplace
Fluorescent lighting, neutral colors, interruptions, and weird smells from your coworker's lunch are hardly the recipe for a good day. At home, you can set up your office to maximize productivity and minimize work stress.
Add personal touches like soft lighting, pictures, and plants, a spot to do your yoga stretches, or maybe a diffuser with your favorite scent. One study found that just adding plants to your office could reduce work stress by a whopping 30% to 60%!
Work In Your Own Environment
While you might have your desk, cube, or maybe private office that you can organize to your liking, it's not your "own" and there are limitations. But when you work from home, you can be more creative or create a space that will fuel your work.
Maybe you like pictures, having a couch close by, or maybe playing background music. Many of these things cannot be done in the office, but at home, you can do whatever you want. It feels less like a corporate job and more of your own office.
You Can Spend More Time With Family
When you work from home, you can connect with your family better. You will be more available for your significant other and your children. Of course, remote work sometimes can be hard to turn off, but you do have more opportunities to spend time with your loved ones. Time goes by fast and wasting it on work commutes takes away precious moments with your family.
- Helps You Save Money
Remote work can save you money, which also can help you feel less stressed about your finances. For example, being a remote worker puts less wear and tear on your car, reduces the daily gas money used to travel back and forth, and lowers temptations to spend on lunch or coffee.
It's not a guarantee to fix all your finances (if it needs fixing) or increase your savings rate dramatically, but it can put extra dollars back in your pockets for other needs.
Fewer Workplace Politics and Distractions
While it's good to be social and connect with colleagues, the office environment can also bring a lot of distractions and drama. The office politics and the gossip can sometimes feel like high school. It's kind of funny when you think about it but it can cause unnecessary stress that you just don't need.
I've personally felt like I've done my best work by being full-time remote, with fewer office distractions and politics. Now, I have my own space and can work with a focused approach. Your home office can have distractions too if you don't create a work plan, but I think the drama-free atmosphere is already a major reduction of distractions.
Offers You Adequate Time To Pursue Other Things
Remote jobs tend to be pretty flexible, even with the larger corporations too. This means your hours of working can be open, which allows you to pursue other things that bring you joy. Most times after a long commute, the last thing you want to do is work out, pursue a hobby, or even start on a side hustle.
But when you are happier, less stressed, and in a good mindset, you are much more likely to take an interest in hobbies, side hustles, working out, or whatever your interests may be.
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS WHEN WORKING REMOTELY
Do Not be Hesitant to Seek Assistance
Being home all day doesn't mean you can or should manage the home life without help. The tendency to take on too many tasks without help becomes a source of stress. If you need help balancing home and work, ask for it from your spouse, partner, relatives, friends, and/or children.
Learning to delegate tasks to your kids can relieve stress for mom (though it may initially be a source of stress). It may be a habit or because it is faster for you to do simple tasks that your kids are capable of doing. With some patience and time, teach your kids what to do and have one less job on your plate.
Make a Good Schedule
Many times, the things we feel we must do leave little time for the things we want to do. Shuttling kids to activities and sports can take over your life, so choose your kids' activities carefully. And then there are the things that may fall into either the must-do or the want-to-do category like volunteering or attending school events.
These can bring about stress as much as the things that we don't want to do like cleaning. Either way, managing stress is not only about learning to delegate, but also learning to say no (sometimes to ourselves too!) and keeping the family schedule under control.
Practice Good Levels of Multitasking
There's a fine line between multitasking and just being constantly distracted. Learning to deal with distractions is part of the art of multitasking.
To multitask effectively stay focused on your goals. If you're not knocking things off our list, maybe you're multitasking too much.
Put More Emphasis on Your Well-being
Managing stress requires you to put all focus on self-care, something that most people are just not good at. If you need to find child care just so you can have some time to collect your thoughts, then it is well worth the money.
Try to Reduce the Distractions
When you are ready to begin working, be sure to silence your phone and turn off any computer notifications you may receive that aren't work-related. You may also consider listening to relaxing music while you work.
Socialize With Friends
If you feel isolated working from home, it's important to make an effort to connect with supportive individuals in your life. As everyone may have different schedules, set up a regular time to video chat or call each other, and add it to your calendar as a reminder.
You can also create a group chat to stay in touch with each other throughout the week.
Manage Your Work Well
To keep your motivation up, break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and reward yourself for completing them. Rewards may include:
- Taking a well-deserved break
- Reciting a positive affirmation to yourself
- Physically checking the task off of your to-do list
- Giving yourself a few minutes to check in with friends
- Taking a few moments to stretch or engage in a relaxation exercise
Set Clear Boundaries
During your work hours, you may receive many non-work-related requests. For some individuals, it may feel incredibly difficult saying no to others and placing your needs above theirs.
Know that it is perfectly okay to turn down someone else's requests if it interferes with your ability to get your job done. Setting appropriate boundaries may help prevent you from taking on too much and offers you the opportunity to decide what you'd like to do with your free time.
Preserve Your Sleep
Getting quality sleep at night directly impacts your overall well-being, including your ability to work from home effectively. Even though it may be tempting to do so, using screens late at night can alter your sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep. Be sure to prioritize unwinding at night and practice good sleep hygiene.
Always Practice Self-Care
When you work from home, it's important to prioritize self-care. Doing so may help you stay connected to yourself and better understand what you need in terms of work-life balance. Take your time figuring out how you can best take care of yourself and meet your needs.
Practicing self-care may include:
- Regularly exercising
- Practicing meditation
- Doing yoga
- Reading during your downtime
- Taking naps
- Listening to music you enjoy
- Spending time with friends
WHY REMOTE WORK MIGHT BE STRESSFUL
In some instances, remote work might be more stressful than office work because of factors such as:
1. Tech-Related Challenges.
Switching to home offices requires a lot of corporate software installation and setup for the very first time. Users who are less tech-savvy, tend to struggle when required to transition into telecommuting.
2. Increased Delays From Support Staff
Receiving assistance and guidance over the internet can be faced with challenges. There may be delays. These may arise because the employees are no longer working within a shared physical working space. Synchronization of their tasks and activities becomes more difficult.
The fact that they do not have "direct and immediate" access to the office may also pose a problem. The remote staff is thus presented with fewer options to continue their productive work until they get the required assistance.
3. A Higher Degree of Autonomy
Remote workers have a higher degree of autonomy at their home offices. Without direct supervision, workers need to make independent decisions regarding their work. This helps to reduce stress levels.
4. The Social Aspect Is Solely Missed
Some employees miss the social aspect of on-premises operations. Not only do humans need to socialize with each other but interacting with their peers helps distract employees from their day-to-day problems.
5. No Breaks from Home Issues
For some people, their workplace may be a sanctuary from stressful home life. By blurring the boundaries between life and work, remote work takes away the breathing space that employees may desperately crave for.
6. Constant Working
Remote work is often associated with long working hours and constant availability for assignments. This could mean that remote workers don't ever truly get a chance to rest from their jobs.
7. Changes in Routine
Initially, changes in routine and the need to handle travel differently may stress some workers out.
Generally, what one may perceive as being stressful may not be stressful to the next person. We have established that indeed, there may be stress factors at home as well just like in the office. However, it is my honest view that remote working presents lower levels of stress compared to the office setting.