It’s not a secret. For most people, office means stress. It always has. It probably always will. And home has always been an escape from that work pressure.
But companies across the globe have switched to the work-from-home model. And now the sanctuary that was our home has been infiltrated by the ‘office stress’.
Since work-from-home is something we’re all new to, the anxiety that comes with it is also new.
So we need some new ways to manage it.
Have a designated office in your home
If the office has entered your home, restrict it to one corner. It doesn’t have to literally be the corner of your room or apartment. Simply designate a desk, a couch, or maybe a spot at the dining table as “the office”.
Because if you become a nomad, and work in a particular spot one day and another the next, every inch of your home will become a reminder of the office. Even the TV room! You don’t want to be thinking about that presentation tomorrow when you’re watching a movie, do you?
Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.
So you used to reach the office every day at 10 am and leave by 7pm? That was a good balance. And you made it happen because you wanted to get back home.
But it’s not so easy now, my friend. It’s tempting to take an hour on a task that you used to wrap up in minutes. And that’s because you already are at home.
So whatever be the jobs on your table, make sure you get them done by a reasonable hour. Otherwise, you won’t even realise that when you call it a day, most of the day is already over.
Start with a bang
Remember the good old office days? You’d reach in the morning. You’d go to make yourself a cup of coffee. And you’d follow it with a customary twenty minutes or so chatting with colleagues and scrolling through your FB, Insta and Twitter. And then you’d start working.
But the important thing is that you would start working. If you begin the day like this at home, you could risk spending more than twenty minutes doing anything but work. And you’d never get in the groove.
A good way to counter this is to knock off all the smaller tasks first thing – answering emails, fixing old presentations and spreadsheets, etcetera, etcetera. It’s a great way to kickstart your productivity and the energy will last you throughout the day.
Sneak in some me time
Actually, ‘sneak’ in is the wrong word. If you take a breather from work when it gets too much to handle, you wouldn’t be doing anything wrong. You would have earned it.
So do something non-work-related whenever you scratch something off your to-do list. Take a coffee break. Go for a walk, perhaps. Or maybe even take out 30 minutes to watch one episode of your favourite brain-dead sitcom (WARNING: don’t click on the ‘next episode’ button).
And most of all, communicate with your team
Sometimes, despite all these measures, stress might still be hard to manage. If that happens, talk to someone in your team about it. Even your supervisor.
We know. It can be intimidating. You’re worried they might judge you. Or that they might consider you too weak.
But here’s the secret – this is a whole new game for most of us. And we’re all struggling to navigate through it.
So chances are that not only will they understand your problems.
They will also relate to them.