More and more people prefer to work from home these days. A global survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 70% of professionals globally work remotely at least once a week and 53% work remotely for at least half a week.
One of the reasons why many employees choose to work outside the traditional office setting and manage their tasks from home is because working from home has been proven to significantly reduce stress. However, while this may be true for many people, some also experience stress even if they are working from the comforts of their own home.
If you are one of these people, and you are looking for ways to reduce your stress levels while working from home, here are 5 tips:
1. Schedule your work when you are most productive
If you’re working in an office, you are most likely required to report at set schedules like 9 AM to 5 PM. Whether you’re a morning person or not, you would have to get up and brave the morning commute every single day. This daily grind is one of the reasons why many people choose flexible working times and the option to work from home.
What’s surprising is that many people still follow a fixed 8-hour schedule even if they’re working from home. For many, this is the sure-fire way that they can get things done and separate their personal stuff from their work tasks.
Following this can also help avoid working non-stop, which is why many people recommend following a set time. However, sticking to a strict work schedule can also be very stressful and in reality, it defeats the advantage of working from home, which is being able to choose a time when you want to work.
Working from home gives you the flexibility to schedule your work around your personal life so you can achieve a satisfying work-life balance. However, if you’re constraining yourself to a fixed schedule, not being able to keep to this schedule can add to your stress, especially if unexpected things come up.
This does not mean however that you should not keep a schedule at all. Instead of following a regimented nine to five daily routine, find out your peak productivity time that works for you and schedule your tasks during these periods.
If you’re the type of person who can’t get things done in the morning, go ahead and snooze away. It will be better for you to schedule your work in the afternoons rather than forcing yourself to work early without achieving anything. If you find, however, that a nine to five schedule is best for you, then that’s also not an issue.
The takeaway here is that you have the power to decide when to do your work so use that to your advantage rather than being limited by it.
2. Take frequent breaks
One of the best things about working from home is that if you’re feeling stuck whether mentally or physically, you can always take a break without anyone commenting about it. Many people who work from home do not take advantage of this luxury.
Remember that you’re no longer trapped at your office desk, so you don’t need to stay there for eight hours straight!
There have been numerous studies suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle, including sitting on an office desk for long periods, can shorten your life. This can also cause a lot of physical pains like backaches and neck pains, which can add to your stress.
Before you even begin feeling eye strain or stiff neck, make sure that you’re giving yourself time to move and breathe.
Get up and stretch out. Go to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee. Contrary to common belief, studies have shown that coffee breaks don’t kill productivity, instead, these breaks can help you become more alert and avoid mistakes.
When you take these micro breaks, you are also allowing your brain to recharge so you can be more creative and efficient in doing your work.
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3. Create a dedicated workspace
Whether you live in a small studio space or a five-bedroom home, it is recommended to have a dedicated working space that you can call your own. It can be an entire home office or just a small desk by the window. What’s important is that you do your work in that space and if people live with you, they are aware that that space is for you.
Why is this important? When you don’t have a fixed space to work in, you’re most likely to use just any available space in the house. This will expose you to a lot of distractions.
One of the pitfalls of working from home is having distractions. Distractions can come in the form of family members, roommates, television, or even your own bed. When you are distracted from your work, the tendency is that you won’t be able to complete your tasks on schedule which can be very stressful.
This can be avoided if you have your own workspace away from these distractions. If you don’t live alone, try to avoid working in common rooms like the living room or kitchen where people may come and go constantly.
4. Get rid of clutter
If you’re reading this while you’re in front of your work desk, take a hard look at your working table and your office. How many items do you really need in that space? Are all the items around helping you become more productive? If there are items that are not necessary, these may be adding to your stress. According to a study, clutter can restrict your ability to focus, process information, and can make you distracted.
Make sure to have your work area always clean and organized. Remove unnecessary items in your work area to help you focus better. If you have an uneaten bar of candy beside your laptop, a coffee mug from two days ago, or paper files that you haven’t touched in months, then it’s time for you to do a KonMari makeover of your workspace and get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy, or in this case, spark productivity.
5. Know when to log off
There are people who believe that working from home can cause more stress. This is because you can be at risk of longer working hours, unpaid overtime, lack of sleep, or the inability to separate work from your personal life. When you’re working from home, nobody is there to command you to keep working, but at the same time, nobody will also switch off the lights and tell you to go home. The temptation to just keep on working exists which can result in overworking and stress. How can this be avoided?
The best way to avoid working non-stop is to become results-oriented in planning your day. Prioritize what you want to achieve during your workday using realistic timelines. Don’t cram in too many tasks when you know that it’s impossible to finish those tasks in eight hours.
If a job is too big to finish in a day, break it down into smaller tasks and stop when the tasks are completed. For example, if you’re supposed to write a 30-page report which you know you can’t complete in one day, divide the work into 10 pages a day over three days. After completing 10 pages, stop working and continue the next day.
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Another useful tip is to take time to plan your schedule. If you know what work is coming your way, calendar your tasks early on to avoid stressing out and cramming when the deadlines are near. Use a digital calendar that can prompt you of your deadlines so you’ll not miss out on important dates.
Busting work from home stress
Working from home can provide a lot of benefits to employees, however, if you practice poor work habits, you could suffer from numerous distractions which can stress you out. Following the recommendations above could help you in managing your work and hopefully, reduce your stress levels when working from home.
This blog was contributed by Nathan Sharpe. Nathan is a business advisor and business writer at Biznas. He has helped many clients solve their business problems, and now imparts his advisory knowledge onto others to help them improve their businesses too.
I think I’ll get up at 5am, go for a run, make breakfast for everyone, get showered and dressed (in a great outfit with heals and makeup), pack lunches, drop my kids off at school, go to work for 10 hours, meet the kids at their practice, handle the parents who are complaining but not volunteering for the team, come home, cook dinner, clean up, monitor homework, get the kids showered, spend some quiet time with each of them while I tuck them in bed, then open up my laptop to do some more work until midnight because I couldn’t get it all done at work, sleep for about 5 hours so that I can do it all again tomorrow.
Laundry. Cleaning. Groceries. Pets. Getting the kids where they need to go. Healthy meals.
We expect women to raise kids like they don’t have jobs, and work like they don’t have kids. Mothers didn’t just enter the career world, they signed on for two full-time jobs and then some.
The allure is strong…yoga pants instead of corporate attire, tending to a load of laundry when you need a quick break from your computer, and chopping some veggies at lunch to throw in your crock pot.
But before we go any further, please allow me to check my privilege at the door so you don’t have to make assumptions: I am a white woman with a college education. I am married. I live in a small Normand Rockwell-ish town and I have a career I genuinely like. #grateful
Here’s the stark reality
Universities train students for the dream of a corner office…but at a certain point, women, especially mothers, begin to recognize that working a 9 to 5 outside the home is a constant source of fatigue and frustration.
“Having it all” can mean different things to different people, and this is especially dependent upon your “stage” in life.
I’d like to think I’ve had some exceptional work “accomplishments”, I worked a 9 to 5 for the first 10 years after college, in fact at the time, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and made more money than my husband did.
But then life changed in an instant. My mom became very sick, I was pregnant, and I knew that working remotely was not going to get me a 6-figure salary. At least not in 2006!
Fast forward a few years after freelancing and starting a blog while my kids were napping, answering emails with puke in my hair, no time to breathe. Trying to at least make enough money to pay our taxes because my husband is a teacher and supporting 4 of us now. I am a strong woman and I have it all. I got this.
Um, Livin’ the dream…right?
When my kids were finally ready to go to school, I was ready to leave the unpredictability of freelance work and get back to a regular salary. But something strange happened. A loyal friend had seen some of my work creating websites and online marketing plans, and asked me to come work for him, in an industry that I knew nothing about.
I put in countless hours outside the home, doing a job that was only partly what I signed up for. I worked for 12 hours a day while he was on a tropical vacation with his family. I was lucky if I got to hug my kids while they were awake before bed.
Does this sound like you too? If so, let me know in the comments below.
When I walked in the door after a 12 hour day, my husband pleasantly asked “what’s the plan for dinner?”
I scream: “Shit!! I guess we’ll just have eggs and toast tonight.”
Calm down. Take a deep breath. Everything will come together.
I truly believe he helps out more than the average husband.
I’m not working a minimum wage job. I’m not disadvantaged in any way…except that I am a working mother in the United States.
So, about that opportunity to Start a Mom Blog so you can Work from Home?
What I’m saying here is that we need to start changing some social norms…especially the notion that blogging is not a “real” job. It’s like we all said hey, let’s change the narrative for women, #womenempowerment, but lets not change anything else. Like it doesn’t matter if your 22 or 42 or 62…it’s not too late to start a blog and make money from it.
It needs to be truly okay for women to opt-out of working outside the home and realize that starting a blog from the comfort of your home IS A CAREER, WHERE YOU CAN EARN A LIVING. Not just like “oh, you started a blog” but behind your back everyone thinks you don’t have a “real” job or you’re wasting your potential.
This whole “having it all” thing has been grossly misinterpreted by American society. The fact is, you CAN have it all, just not all at the same time.
Here’s what Starting a Blog looks like…
Women need to join together to provide support for ALL women, regardless of color or income level. Because there is enough space online for all of us to thrive. Women who support other women are truly magical.
The CMO at a company is no more entitled to paid maternity leave, job security, and adequate childcare than the waitress who works long hours at the only restaurant in town. Working is not a luxury or a choice for the vast majority of us, so we need to stop acting like it is.
Why are we even calling this a “mom blog”? Just because you’re a mom and you’re starting a blog, it may or may not be on the topic of your children, the childrearing process. That’s ok. Your blog doesn’t have to be about your children to be a “mom blog” although it certain can be! I consider myself a mom-blogger, yet I blog about business. Anyway, here are the facts about starting a blog (or a mom blog!) so that you can decide if it’s something that will fulfill your need for choice.
It takes just as much work to make a blog profitable (ie: Make Money with your blog) as it does to be good at any other business. It doesn’t happen instantly and if you think you can write a blog article here or there and then the social media fairies will automatically send people to your website to read it or pay you for your opinion then you’re mistaken.
If you’re contemplating giving up your corporate job to work from home, here are a 3 realities to help you transition smoothly:
1. Master the Mindset
It sure is nice when you don’t have to rush everyone out the door in the morning. You might envision a morning walk, yoga, or even just a quiet cup of coffee before the kids wake up. When I left my corporate job, I was initially thrilled at how the morning changed. I actually planned a morning run after the kids went to school. But until I got back, showered, had something to eat and sat down at my laptop, half my day already seemed like it was gone, and I still had to get to the grocery store. Before you know it, the blessing and curse of working from home becomes a reality. It take work to build a business, so if you treat it like a regular job and stick to some goals and a routine, you’ll be much more productive!
2. Ace Time Management
This one may seem obvious, but when you’re a new mom with a baby who runs the show, and a home-based business owner, it isn’t always a walk in the park. You’re used to being in control of your time, and with a baby, time management looks a little different for everyone. Babies thrive on routine, and so do adults, so don’t be afraid to do what works for you and your family, even if it’s different from what everyone else is doing or suggesting. A consistent mealtime, bath time, play time, going for a walk time, or whatever it is that works for you can also be factored in to the time you spend building your business. Give yourself some grace if it takes a few extra weeks or months to nail down your routine.
3. Plan for Distractions
Sometimes, I feel like I have a hundred things to do before I open my laptop. Other times, I’m in an incredible groove, only to be interrupted by my kids bickering about nonsense. Even if I’m in a room with the door shut. It’s 3:30, they just walked in from school, “Mom, what are we having for dinner, I’m starving” is all too familiar, maybe I should have used my Sunday Prep-Day a little more wisely. I’m better at being a mom when I’m prepared for the week. Often on a Sunday I just want to sit down on the couch with a cup of coffee and a book and relax, but instead I make a list for the grocery store and plan dinners for the week because that is more productive. Then Sunday night rolls around and I think I’ll finally get out that book until my daughter says “can we make s’mores with the neighbors because it’s national s’more day after all”.
GirlBoss Secret: Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud!
Bloggers who work from home might not experience the glamorous happy hours and spa retreats that some of our corporate counterparts do, but I’ve learned that owning your own business is certainly better than working toward someone else’s vision.
The moral of the story is, if you don’t set some goals for yourself and take risks, you’ll always work for someone who does.
It’s challenging building a business from scratch, but is it worth it to get more flexibility and less stress? Damn straight it is! Take my Free Quiz and I’ll send you a Free Blogger Getting Started Guide!
Now the fun part…let’s find out what your Blogger Personality is!