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The current health crisis has already altered many facets of everyday life. Entertainment, transportation, and education are all accommodating the realities of the new normal. That is especially true for businesses and companies. The commercial sector is experiencing radical changes. Thanks to its resilience and digital technology, a new working paradigm has emerged.

As of June 2020, as many as 42 percent of working adults in the United States are using work-from-home arrangements. Although these set-ups will protect you and uphold social distancing protocols, they come with their own downsides. Namely, working from home can be a continual source of stress.

Sources of Stress Working from Home

As many as 83 percent of working Americans already experience work-related stress. Unless you’re looking forward to adrenal fatigue treatment, you’ll need to understand how working from home can be just as stressful as going to the office. Just because you’re working from, it doesn’t mean the sources of stress have disappeared, just that they’ve changed. Here are the most apparent causes of anxiety and stress when you’re working out of your home.

  • Lack of organization. Because you’re no longer in your office, you are essentially semiautonomous. Your distance from supervisors and coworkers could make it difficult to reach out to them, even with internet connectivity and messaging apps. The frustration of trying to reach coworkers and coordinate with teammates can drive your stress levels right up.
  • Too many distractions. Unlike the pristine and controlled environment of your office, your home can be chock-full of distractions. Your family can continuously barge in on you, neighbors could blast music, and pets can demand your attention. Your electronics, such as your phone and television, can also tempt you from focusing on your work.
  • Overwhelming responsibilities. When you’re working from home, your duties to your home and family don’t disappear. You could be suddenly needed to cook a meal, help with some chores, and other tasks. Juggling these responsibilities can be overwhelming and ramp up your stress.
  • Blurred boundaries. Without the mental framework provided by going to the office, you may have more problems maintaining your work-life balance. That can cause you to work too much and neglect your personal needs.

Managing Your Stress Efficiently

How do you deal with all this stress? You need to make your work-from-home arrangement for efficient and learn how to manage your stress. The following tips can help you create a less stressful environment.

Establish Your Own Space

The first thing you need to do is to establish a home office. Of course, this is much easier if you can set up an entire room with a door. However, if you don’t have the area for it, you need to create a designated nook. Make sure it’s comfortable and away from distracting areas such as noisy roads or your entertainment systems. Finally, discuss this space with your family or housemates. Make it clear that they aren’t to invade your workspace.

Stick to a Schedule

Unless you have flexible working hours, treat your workday usually. If your shift starts at nine in the morning, make sure you’re ready to work by then. If you get an hour for lunch at noon, use it to eat or relax, not to do extra work. And if your shift ends, make sure you log out by then. Sticking to a regular schedule prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities at home and in your job. Focus on your job during work hours and don’t bring them outside their allotted time.

Decrease Distractions

Although it’s not ideal to have a supervisor breathing down your neck, their presence does tend to decrease the temptation to engage in distracting activities. At home, you have to police yourself, and the best way to do that is by physically removing distractions. If you have a home office, install thick drapes on the windows to lower noise from outside. Move out any potentially distracting devices such as your television or gaming system from the room. Finally, put your phone on silent or vibrate and mute notifications from social media.

Say “No”

Maintaining your work-life balance is the most important tool you have in decreasing work from home stress. Just like how establishing a home office, sticking to a schedule, and removing distractions keep your home life outside your work, they should also keep it inside these spaces. Resist the urge to work when your shift is over, especially if there’s no pressing need for it. If a supervisor asks you to do so, learn to say no unless they have compelling evidence. Say no to logging in too early for your shift and certainly say no to sacrificing your weekends for non-emergency work situations.

Your mental and emotional health are just as important as your physical well-being. Working from home may protect the latter, but without efficient management, it could jeopardize the latter two. These suggestions will help you ensure you’re happy and healthy with every aspect of your life.

Balancing children and a full-fledged workload is not a walk in the park, especially during this period. It’s okay to occasionally treat yourself now and then to your favorite meal or a movie for your efforts. Most importantly, enjoy the process as you get to spend more time with the people that mean the most to you!

With schools closed around the country and most companies opting for remote work, keeping your kids engaged while you work can be a daunting experience. For many parents, it’s a healthy mix of chaos, family time, stress, fighting, and bargaining with their partner on who will take which shift so the other can get some work done.

Although it won’t be easy in this period, this can also be an amazing time to bond with your kids and get to know them better. Most importantly, go easy on yourself. There’s no doubt this time is impossibly difficult, so doing your best is the best decision for everyone.

Here a few ways to  keep your children engaged while you work from home:

Create a schedule

I know you’re probably tired of hearing this but the truth is that kids do best when they have a structure,  so creating a daily schedule will make it easier for them to stay focused as well as hopefully provide periods of productivity for you too.

Schedule your work-time to align with the activities you plan for them. You can plan your zoom meeting and calls at the same time with their screen time, that way they will be too engrossed in what they are watching to disturb your meeting.

Also be sure to schedule ‘in time’, in which you are part of their day as well, for example, 12 pm -1 pm can be board games or lunch break with mummy. Your children will have something to look forward to each day and the mental break will be good for you, especially when you are dealing with a stressful situation at work.

Take your lead from the teachers

Most schools have introduced virtual classes as a means to make up for the lost time. You can take a look at your child’s scheduled classes for the week, this will help in knowing when they will be in class and when to schedule other activities to keep them busy while you work.

Create projects

You can create fun age-appropriate projects that will keep your kids engaged and entertained. Go to YouTube to check for age-appropriate DIY videos for your kids. An example can be building a city with cardboard boxes, pillows and blankets, and so on. Toymaking, art, and craft, or even painting projects. The good thing about this is that it not only keeps your kids busy, it helps in stimulating their minds, enhancing their motor skills and creativity.

If you can, plan the night before

Some days, you may just want to go to bed after a long day. That’s normal and perfectly fine. But if you can, try to plan the next day’s itinerary before you sleep. This is very important especially if you have an early morning meeting the next day. It’ll ensure your kids are happy and occupied, and not throwing a tantrum during that video conference with your CEO.

Spend time outside, if you can

If you live in a house with a big garden or backyard, allow your kids to go out and play. Vitamin D is great for our overall health, and going outside even for a few minutes each day gives children the space they need to roam. If your kids aren’t up to the age where they can play without supervision, you can take your laptop outside so you can keep a watchful eye on them.

Write letters to teachers, friends or grandparents 

You can keep your kids busy by channeling your son or daughter’s creativity toward letter writing or picture drawing. Let them write a letter to their friends in school or to their teacher or even to their grandparents while you get some work done. Not only will your child learn a lesson in compassion, but your relative will also receive a nice surprise to lift their spirits.

Assign ‘work’ to your kids

For the foreseeable future, when your kids ask you what you’re doing, you’ll likely say “working”. This word doesn’t always make sense to them, so a way to teach them is to assign tasks to them.  Give them puzzles to finish, LEGO lands to build, separate the bean seeds from the shaft, arrange the throw pillows in the sitting room. You can set a timer for an hour so they can work and then ask them to prepare a presentation afterward to show off their work.

Dance videos

Most kids can operate tablets and phones from younger ages. Set your child up with some music (that isn’t too loud to disturb your work), show them how to make a video (if they don’t already know how), provide props or dress-up clothes and have them take dance videos (or other silly videos) that they can share with you.

Designate an area for your ‘home office’

It is important to have a designated area (preferably a spare room) that will enable you to organize your files, stay on task, and minimize interruptions. Let your kids also know that this is mummy’s work area and teach them not to come to the work area while you’re working. It is important to follow a schedule even while working so if you work 9 -5, try to keep it at that with short breaks in between to check on the kids.

Balancing children and a full-fledged workload is not a walk in the park, especially during this period. It’s okay to occasionally treat yourself now and then to your favorite meal or a movie for your efforts. Most importantly, enjoy the process as you get to spend more time with the people that mean the most to you!

Have any tips to keep your kids busy while you work from home? Feel free to share.