When companies started sending people to work from home in early 2020, nobody could have imagined that almost one year later they would still be working from home. While some people have thrived with this arrangement, many are struggling.
It seems that my patients have gone from working at home to living at work, and that shift is taking a toll on their overall mental health. Here are three of the most common causes of stress-related to working from home.
Impaired concentration is the most common symptom that people are reporting related to working from home. Driving to work daily and being in that environment put you in a different mindset than walking to another room in your home or working from your bedroom. This may be further complicated by others in the home who interrupt you during your workday simply because you are more accessible.
If you are trying to work from home and home school children, the ability to focus on work tasks can seem impossible at times. Some people also find it difficult to resist the urge to stop and clean the kitchen or do a load of laundry in the middle of the day simply because they are home.
The best way to deal with this is to add as much structure to your day as possible.
– Get up and go through the motions as if you are going to work. Whatever your typical morning routine is, follow it. This will help get you in the mindset that you are shifting to work time and may help. If you are typically a shower, get dressed, and have coffee on the way out of the door kind of person, continue to do all those things.
– If possible, set a designated workspace in the home. If you have a separate room that you can enter and use for work only, that is ideal. It will help you train yourself that when you are in that space it is time for work.
– Minimize distractions, especially if there are things that you would not typically have during the workday, such as watching TV while working or trying to complete household chores while working. If your distractions come from other people in the home, set times that you will check in with them in hopes of avoiding them interrupting you at random times. Even older kids who are schooling virtually can be placed on these scheduled check-ins. These are also a great way to get you moving and taking necessary breaks.
For those who thrive off interactions with other people or those who live alone, the loneliness of working from home has been incredibly stressful. This is made even worse due