You’ve read and heard all about the benefits of remote work, especially with the advancement of video conferencing technology. One of these benefits is increased productivity. You have even familiarized yourself with the top 5 rules for working from home. Regardless, you now feel like your work-from-home performance is lagging. In fact, every day spent working remotely is becoming another day spent wondering when it will end.
You are not alone.
A recent survey from the Society of Human Resources Management found that 35 percent of employees working from home reported they often felt tired or had little energy, while 32 percent reported sometimes feeling that way. So, you might be sleeping fine, but you’re still having a hard time getting enough energy to get through the workday. Here are five reasons why:
You are anxious and distracted
You may be spending more time at home, but that only means that you have more time to worry about the ongoing global pandemic, your health and that of your loved ones, homeschooling your children, and a host of other issues.
It doesn’t help that you are constantly checking the news and social media for updates, or that your own employer and various businesses are periodically reaching out to check on you or ‘support’ you. What’s more, your children or spouse keep demanding your attention every five minutes.
The fix? Take breaks from your TV and limit the amount of time you spend online. And since the flow of information right now can be overwhelming, get comfortable with filtering and prioritizing. It’s okay not to respond to every non-critical email. Also, make time for your family and establish boundaries.
Your routine is thrown off
It used to be that you would flow from one meeting room to the next with a notebook while you were in the office. Now, you have to learn how to use collaboration tools and new terminologies to work remotely with your team. ‘Whiteboard’ has suddenly taken on a new meaning, for instance.
Sure, getting into new routines and rhythms for working and living will affect your energy levels – precisely because it’s a big change to adapt to. But maintaining a new normal routine like showering, dressing, eating, working, practicing self-care, and sleeping on a regular timetable can be grounding and stabilizing. So, keep at it and, soon enough, you will find your energy levels improve.
Video conference overload
Video calls are a great way to keep in touch with colleagues, friends, and family when we are practicing social distancing and working from home. But it can be exhausting to have to sit in front of a computer all day, interacting through video conferencing platforms.
The amount of focus needed is a lot, especially because it is tougher to read social cues and body language via video than in-person. To avoid suffering what has been called video conferencing fatigue, schedule breaks between your video calls, and check if you can do audio conferencing or phone calls instead every once in a while.
You are working more
When you are used to working from an office, you tend to have physical cues and boundaries that signal to you that it’s time to work. When it’s time to leave the office, your brain registers that work is now over. Unfortunately, with your office now the couch, bed, or kitchen table, there is a lack of physical separation between work and personal life.
One effect of these blurred boundaries is that people are working more. A BlueJeans survey found that remote workers are logging an additional 3.13 to 4.64 hours per day working from home. The pressure you feel to show productivity when working from home pushes you to work extra hours, and this can be draining.
What can you do? Set up a physical space that is only for work if you can, and create boundaries for when you are on the clock. By limiting the distractions and interruptions during the day, you ensure work and personal life don’t blend as much as they have been doing – and you can enjoy your breaks guilt-free!
You are not moving
You might have loved complaining about how much sitting you used to do in the office, but the truth is that physically going to work was a lot more active than working from home. You walked to your car or the matatu stage or went out for lunch with your colleagues at a nearby kibanda. You may even have had it better if your employer offered gym or exercise programs at work.
We know that movement is healthy and critical to our well-being. In fact, being sedentary can actually cause more exhaustion. So, schedule movement into your day, and try to reduce your sitting time whenever you can. That means taking microbreaks and doing a few jumping jacks too!