Managing Work-Related Stress at Home
Bradley Ebsworth-Willis, Reed Wellbeing’s Associate Director for Product Development, writes:
During these unprecedented times, more of us than ever are working from home.
Working from home is the ‘new normal’ for the time being and we are all finding ways to do our jobs well remotely, to be productive and to ensure we continue to look after our mental and physical health.
Being away from the office does not mean we are away from the stresses and strains that working life can bring. However, where previously you could talk these through with your colleagues or your manager in the office, you may now be trying to cope alone in an isolated environment or in a hectic environment with a young family at home.
Good stress management is more important than ever when working away from the office for a sustained period of time. To help you, we have detailed 5 of our top tips for effectively managing work-related stress while working at home.
Being active is not only beneficial to your physical health and general fitness, it can also have a positive impact upon your mental wellbeing and help you to reduce your stress levels. Exercising regularly may help you to reduce some of the intense emotions that you may be feeling in that moment, clear your thoughts and enable you to come up with good solutions to your current problems.
Plan some time to do some exercise into your daily routine. Make sure you are able to exercise without any work distractions. For example, if you have a work mobile phone, put this aside while you are exercising if you can so that you are not distracted by work emails or calls.
See our infographic on the ‘10 benefits of being active’ to learn more and use our Exercise Planner to help you to plan exercise into your daily routine.
We may be working away from the office, but we are fortunate enough to live in an age where staying connected with each other is easier than ever. There are a wealth of resources that we can use to stay connected with our friends, family and colleagues, via instant messaging, telephone and video calls.
For staying in touch with colleagues, your company is likely to have a chosen solution in place to enable you to stay in touch with your colleagues.
Most of us love and enjoy a good vent about work frustrations from time to time. When you are in the office, you may do this with colleagues over a cup of tea in the kitchen, or venture out to grab some lunch. Make sure you still take time to do this while working from home. Virtual coffee breaks or lunch breaks can help you feel connected and part of a team – and let you still have that much needed vent about everything!
Work smarter, not harder
Working from home for a long period of time can have a detrimental impact upon our work-life balance. Where normally you need to take time to travel into the office before you start work in the morning and you are able to turn off your computer and leave at the end of the day – working from home can lead you to work longer hours and find it more difficult to switch off. This can heighten work-related stress and cause you to feel anxious.
It’s key to stay disciplined when working from home. Ensure you continue to prioritise your work tasks effectively, focussing on the tasks that are urgent and have the biggest impact. Remember that tasks can expand to take the time allotted. If you have say to yourself that you have all day to complete a piece of work, it will take all day! Write yourself a list each day, set a timeframe for tasks to be completed in and use the extra time you have in your day for you – take up a new hobby, spend more time with friends and family or simply relax and enjoy a cup of tea.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as ways of coping with work-related stress. In the long term, these types of habits won’t solve your problems or relieve your stress – if anything, they’ll just create new ones. They can also impact your quality and quantity of sleep, increasing tiredness regardless of how long you stay in bed, which in turn, can break your routine and further increase stress.
Eating healthily, staying hydrated and exercising are far more effective ways of increasing resilience and for enabling yourself to cope with work stresses that come your way.
Try to stay positive
Whatever stresses are going on with work, try to stay positive and identify the things in life that you are grateful for. At the end of every day, try writing down 5 things that you are grateful for that day. Gratitude for even the simplest things in life, such as a phone conversation with a friend or baking a new recipe can help us to stay optimistic in life and cope with stressful days and weeks at work.