How To Deal With Stress Caused by Working From Home
June 3, 2022
Routine and structure. For many people, these are two major keys to success in the professional world. Consistent schedules and deadlines, regular rules, and clear organization keep work on track and make coworkers, customers, and bosses happy.
These days, work-from-home arrangements—made more common by the COVID-19 pandemic—have made it harder and harder for professionals to maintain routines and structure. Disruption of the office working experience can cause ongoing stress for many people, especially for those that have shifted to working from home.
“There’s no doubt that the biggest stress for professionals working from home is change in routine and structure,” according to Christopher M. Palmer, MD, director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital.
“Whenever people’s routines change significantly or expectations change, it stresses people. That’s the way our bodies work.”
Challenges facing professionals working from home include reliance on technologies, like teleconferencing and Zoom. In addition to the stress some experience from having to learn new skills, the virtual communication reduces much-needed personal contact and can contribute to anxiety and depression.
Other challenges include spending the entire working day at home with spouses, children, or aging parents. Working in a house full of people means more distractions and disruptions. Also, many workers feel they are less productive, which leads to stress.
The fact that working remotely means many workers must juggle the demands of their working lives in very close proximity with their parenting and family responsibilities can cause even more stress.
Palmer is not surprised that these factors lead to increased levels of stress for stay-at-home professionals.
“If you have massive disruptions to your life, you should expect to experience some degree of stress,” he asserted. “This stress will persist until you reach an equilibrium or comfort level.”
This comfort level can be described as “a position where you’re getting the things done that you need to get done, and you feel like you’ve got some structure and a routine,” he said.