Back in 2020, companies around the world were forced to transition to remote work due to the outburst global pandemic. Seemingly overnight, working from home became the new normal for many of us. Three years later, COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency. And yet most businesses and their employees continue to rely on hybrid or home offices.
While working from home has its advantages, it can also bring new challenges, including increased stress and burnout. As such, it’s important to prioritize mental health and well-being while working from home.
In this article, we’ll explore the ways to reduce stress and improve overall well-being while working remotely. Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or new to the work-from-home scene, these tips will help you stay healthy and happy while working from the comfort of your own home.
Are we still up to working from home?
In fact, we are! Remote work is likely to remain a popular choice for many organizations in the years to come. According to a recent survey of over 2,100 employees who worked remotely during the pandemic:
- 65% said they want to remain full-time remote workers after the pandemic
- 58% said they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they can’t continue remote work in their current role
- 46% believed returning to the office would mean less flexibility
Despite the increased flexibility that comes with remote work, many employees have reported experiencing setbacks such as burnout, stress, and other challenges. These include a lack of separation between work and leisure time, a reduced opportunity for human interaction leading to misunderstandings between team members, multiple distractions, and an unhealthy lifestyle.
So, what are the ways to make remote and/or hybrid work a pleasant experience?
1. Leverage automation wherever possible
Embracing the power of workflow automation tools is crucial for optimizing productivity and efficiency in a hybrid workplace or remote work setup. By incorporating workflow automation tools into your daily routine, you can streamline and accelerate various processes, ensuring seamless task management and collaboration. These tools enable you to automate repetitive tasks, assign and track project progress, and centralize communication channels, resulting in enhanced productivity and reduced errors.
Workflow automation ensures better visibility and transparency, allowing remote teams to stay aligned and informed, regardless of their physical locations. By harnessing the capabilities of workflow automation tools and eSignature, you can effectively navigate the complexities of a hybrid or remote work environment, boost productivity, and ensure smooth workflows and successful project outcomes.
Take note: Automation courses by the airSlate Academy are available completely free of charge. These courses are designed to give you the necessary skills to start a new career, demonstrate career growth, or implement a new high-tech solution in your workplace.
2. Establish boundaries
Creating a schedule and sticking to it is a crucial aspect of establishing boundaries between your work and personal time. It can be tempting to work outside of traditional office hours, especially if you’re trying to catch up on work or meet tight deadlines.
Establishing a routine and sticking to it can help you create a sense of structure and routine in your workday, which can help improve focus and productivity. In addition to defining work hours, it can be helpful to establish a pre-work routine to help you mentally prepare for the day ahead. This might include activities such as exercise, meditation, or journaling, which can help you feel more energized and focused throughout the day.
3. Create a dedicated workspace
To establish a productive work-from-home environment, it’s crucial to set up a dedicated workspace that is entirely separate from your personal life. Designate a specific area in your home solely for work-related activities. This separation creates psychological boundaries and enhances focus, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in work when needed and switch off when you’re done.
But don’t forget to add a bit of customization to your office, as it’ll make you feel more relaxed. For example, you can use Picsart’s background changer to edit photos you want to print out and frame around your space. Or, you could add figures or toys around your desk as long as they aren’t too distracting!
By physically separating your workspace from your personal life, you create a mental distinction between the two, reducing distractions and making it easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Your dedicated workspace acts as a signal to your brain that it’s time to work, improving productivity and enabling you to disconnect from work during your personal time.
4. Take regular breaks
When working from home, it’s common to get engrossed in tasks and forget to give yourself much-needed breaks. However, it’s vital to prioritize your well-being by incorporating regular breaks into your daily routine. Taking breaks allows you to rest and recharge both your mind and body, boosting productivity and preventing burnout.
Step away from your workspace, stretch your legs, hydrate, or engage in activities that provide mental refreshment. These breaks not only help maintain focus but also improve creativity and overall work quality. Remember, by consciously scheduling and embracing breaks, you enhance your ability to sustain optimal performance throughout the day.
5. Exercise and stay physically active
Regular exercise and physical activity play a vital role in reducing stress and boosting energy levels. Engaging in physical exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, which help alleviate stress and improve mood. It also promotes better sleep, which further enhances overall well-being. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive function and productivity.
Whether it’s a brisk walk, a home workout, or yoga session, dedicating time to move your body provides a refreshing break from work and stimulates mental clarity. By prioritizing regular exercise and incorporating it into your routine, you can effectively manage stress, increase your energy levels, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
6. Stay connected
Working from home or in a hybrid workplace can sometimes feel isolating, with limited opportunities for in-person interactions. It’s essential to prioritize staying connected with colleagues and friends to combat this sense of isolation. Leverage the power of video conferencing tools to have regular catch-ups and chats. Schedule virtual coffee breaks or informal video calls to maintain social connections and discuss non-work-related topics.
Engaging in virtual team activities or joining online communities within your industry can also foster connections and provide a sense of camaraderie. By actively seeking opportunities to connect with others through technology, you can overcome the isolation of remote work, boost morale, and nurture relationships that are essential for collaboration, support, and overall well-being.
7. Seek support
Maintaining strong connections and seeking support from trusted colleagues, friends, or support networks is essential in a hybrid workplace. Actively reach out to these individuals to engage in open conversations about work-related challenges, seeking advice or guidance when needed. Sharing your experiences, concerns, and successes with others can provide valuable insights, fresh perspectives, and emotional support.
Whether it’s through virtual coffee chats, informal discussions, or joining professional communities, actively cultivating these connections nurtures a sense of belonging, combats feelings of isolation, and fosters a supportive network that understands the unique dynamics of a hybrid work environment. Remember, reaching out is a sign of strength, and leveraging these relationships can contribute significantly to your well-being and resilience in the face of challenges.
8. Regularly evaluate and prioritize
Regularly assessing your workload, priorities, and well-being is crucial to prevent burnout and achieve a healthy work-life integration in a hybrid workplace. Take the time to reflect on your current responsibilities, deadlines, and overall workload. Assess whether it aligns with your capacity and consider any adjustments that may be necessary, such as delegating tasks or renegotiating deadlines. Additionally, evaluate your well-being by checking in with your physical and mental state.
Are you getting enough rest, exercise, and leisure time? Make adjustments to prioritize self-care and ensure a healthy balance. Remember, by regularly assessing and making necessary adjustments, you proactively protect your well-being and maintain a sustainable and fulfilling work-life integration.
9. Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals is an essential practice to prevent burnout and foster success in a hybrid workplace. Take the time to assess the scope and feasibility of your tasks, considering factors such as available resources, time constraints, and your own capabilities. By setting realistic goals, you create a sense of focus and direction, allowing you to prioritize effectively and avoid overwhelming yourself with an excessive workload.
Break down larger objectives into smaller, achievable milestones, celebrating each accomplishment along the way. This approach not only helps manage expectations but also promotes a sense of accomplishment, motivation, and sustained productivity. By setting realistic goals, you can navigate the hybrid work environment with greater confidence and reduce the risk of burnout while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
10. Use a VPN at all times
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is crucial when working in a hybrid workplace or remotely from home. By utilizing a VPN at all times, you ensure a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the company’s network. This added layer of protection safeguards sensitive data and shields your online activities from potential threats, such as unauthorized access or data breaches.
Whether you’re accessing company resources, communicating with colleagues, or handling confidential information, a VPN establishes a secure tunnel, preventing prying eyes from intercepting or compromising your data. By making VPN usage a standard practice, you prioritize data security, maintain privacy, and mitigate risks associated with remote work or hybrid environments.
In a nutshell
In the era of remote and hybrid work, prioritizing your well-being is paramount. By implementing these practical tips, you can navigate the challenges, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and prevent burnout. Remember, taking care of yourself is not only essential for your productivity but also for your overall happiness and success in this new work landscape.
Originally published in April 2020, updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in May 2023
- Are we still up to working from home?