Work from Home (WFH) situations call for (endless) virtual meetings and this calls for skills to be more engaging because people are sitting behind computers where their attention spans are shorter. Added to this, there is a thin line dividing official work and doing supportive family work to such an extent that the stress starts building up. On top of this, there are review meetings with the boss on deadlines and very important work to be completed.
There are two more contributors to stress, one is the absence of physical exercise and two, the absence of social interactions which often act as a stress buster. Continued working under pressure situations can lead to burnout. There are some simple ways to take care of health and well-being and thereby maintain productivity and decision-making ability.
One of the benefits of WFH has been the time saved from commuting and organizations are now considering WFH on a more long-term basis. Some companies are considering a flexible working arrangement, wherein employees can alternate WFH as well as working from the office, based on their schedule of work/personal requirement.
One thing is certain, the pandemic has shifted the communication and work style. People will continue connecting on Zoom calls and the likes and experience some level of mixing of work and home life. In this scenario, one should be aware of what can be done to prevent burnout. Some of the symptoms of burnout are irritability, feeling lethargic, low, anxious, and sometimes experiencing depression.
WFH involves a demand for work with the sacrifice of some autonomy and independence. Outlined here are some measures to mitigate some of the results of stress and burnout. In my own case, I have found the following useful and hence would like to share them: –
1. Taking a break for five minutes after every thirty minutes and taking a short walk around the house or, if conditions permit to walk in the compound of the society/house.
2. Doing simple exercises like wrist rotation, shoulder rotation, neck rotation, hip rotation, standing on toes and heels alternatively, etc. near the workspace every three hours. This will take 7 to 9 minutes. Kindly add deep breathing exercises (every six hours). Please refer to videos available on the subject.
3. Keep a list of happy moments ready – for some it would be listening to old songs, playing with children/grandchildren, dabbling in the garden, etc. Anything which makes time standstill. These can be used at random times during the day. This will keep the mood and spirits up.
4. Have time cut out for the phone and social media (maybe 10 minutes every hour). This will be difficult at first but once a habit is created it works wonders.
5. This is the key – having a vision board in front of the desk, wherein all the things we want to do in the next five years are put up in a visual format. This will keep reminding us of the bright future towards which we are moving.
Having a calm mind and a smiling demeanor will help us stay productive and motivated for superior results.
About the Author
Dr. Krishnamurthy Iyer is a seasoned industrial engineer turned HR professional, with an established track record in change management, organizational diagnostics, and integration of HR processes with business strategies.
He possesses a versatile combination of human and industrial engineering skills with an experience spanning over 40 years in the human factor and effectiveness enhancement, as a natural trainer, facilitator & galvanizer of people, influencing team synergy and concerted action for results, with specialization in individual and team development and organization development.