- May 16, 2018
Here’s the thing about working from home: it’s not as easy as leisurely as people make it out to be. Whenever I tell my friends that I work from home whenever school’s out, they usually comment that I’m pretty lucky, and how easy it must be.
While I do consider myself lucky to work from home (mainly because I get to avoid traffic, and can set my own schedule), I wouldn’t call it easy. It has its own mix of challenges that all those clickbaity articles never address.
So for this article, I’ll be writing about the unique challenges work from home peeps face, and how we can de-stress. Yes, working from home can still be stressful! If you’re considering working from home, or if you’re looking for ways to de-stress, read on!
Working from Home: The Challenges
You work and home tasks get mixed up
I’m in charge of mowing the lawn and doing the laundry. When the school year starts and I’m teaching at school, I have an excuse for not doing those chores. But when I’m working from home, that excuse disappears.
I can say that I’m busy working, but I am still physically at home. And when you’re at home, you’re on-call for home stuff, such as chores. That can be a, well, chore. So when I’m working from home, I’m actually doing double-duty. I’m doing my paid work, but I’m also tending to the lawn and trying to get the laundry done between tasks.
Meals can end up costing more
This was a real surprise for me. At the college where I work, I usually get my lunch at the cafeteria. I don’t get anything expensive, but thought I would be able to save that money when I started working from home. I mean, there’s always food in the fridge, right?
Well, with work and chores breathing down my neck, I hardly had any time to prepare food. So I usually ended up ordering pizza or Chinese food. And that gets costly pretty fast.
At school, the faculty office can be pretty noisy. I need to work in a sea of noise. There’s the endless phone calls happening around me, the sound of papers being filed, the footsteps, and the students whining about their grades.
Yeah, none of that is as distracting as a toddler crying. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of recording a lesson for my Udemy account, or in the zone with my surveys. If my little one cries, I need to drop everything and check up on her. At the office, I can always ask people to tone it down a bit. At home? Not so much.
Relaxing can be difficult
Here’s another paradox about working from home. People think that just because the bedroom is ten feet away from my home office, it should be easy to relax. That isn’t really the case. And that’s because it’s harder to compartmentalize being in work and home mode when your work and living space is essentially the same.
Having a home office is a big help. But when I’m in the bedroom or in the lounge, I sometimes find that I’m still in work mode. So I need to be extra mindful about leaving my work concerns in home office when I’m done with my day.
How to De-Stress
Compartmentalize your work and living spaces
That home office is such a big help. When I was younger, I used to work in my studio apartment, and I would sometimes work in bed, with my laptop monitor set to maximum brightness. That wasn’t such a good idea, because my mind couldn’t differentiate between work and rest modes.
I understand not everyone will have an extra room they can dedicate for work. You actually don’t need an entire room. The key is to have a space, no matter how small, that is designated for work, and work alone. That could be a nook under the stairs, a corner in the living room, or even a space in the attic. The important thing is, you’re telling your mind that this spot is for work, and when you’re elsewhere in the house, you’re not in work mode.
Try to find alone time
Since I have a toddler, alone time is extremely difficult to come by. For me, alone time is when the wife and child are asleep. That’s when I can listen to music, read a book, or enjoy a calming glass of wine.
But that’s the best case scenario. More often than not, you’ll have to find time for yourself during little pockets of time throughout the day. And that’s okay. As long as you have time to breathe and chill for a few minutes, that’s okay.
Learn how to relax
Relaxing isn’t as simple as plopping into bed and mindlessly channel-surfing or checking your phone. Relaxing actually takes effort. It’s not strenuous effort - the key is to be mindful that you’re relaxing.
Let’s say you find some of that alone time. Sit down, take a few deep breaths using your diaphragm and be conscious about letting the tension go. It might sound like additional work initially, but before long, you will be able to build your relaxation skills. And that’s exactly what relaxing is - as skill!
Get enough rest
We’ve stigmatized rest. People like to say they’ll keep working, only to sleep when they’re dead. That attitude sounds good when you’re trying to impress your boss, but it’s not a very healthy mindset in the long run.
The irony here is that to work harder, faster, you will need ample rest. So don’t forget to unwind after a day’s work. And don’t feel guilty about need rest. In fact, don’t look at it as rest in the traditional sense. Look at it as refueling.
These are all legit ways for us work from homers to de-stress and relax. Don’t get me wrong; working from home has its challenges, but it’s been an awesome experience overall. But to fully reap the benefits of working from home, you will also have to pay attention to rest and relaxation.
This review is based on my own experiences as a work from home dude. Now it’s your turn to share! What challenges do you face while working from home? And how do you overcome them?
Let’s hear your stories!