Last Updated on July 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new and unique challenges for workers who are now home-bound and obligated to work remotely.
Many employees are working from home for the very first time, away from the usual office setup and isolated from their officemates, friends and family. This disruption has led many remote workers to feel anxious, stressed and mentally exhausted.
In order to get a better understanding of the difficulties encountered by remote workers, we asked our followers on Facebook and Instagram and members of our Viber Community the following question: With work from home (WFH) being an entirely new experience for most of us, what are the biggest challenges did you have to hurdle to get work done?
1. Unreliable Internet Connection
“For an employee of a company that relies heavily on internet and tech, the connection in the Philippines has a huge negative impact on my performance. For example, online classes, webinars and livestreams are harder to execute, even with ample preparation due to the fact that PH internet can simply ruin the experience with frequent disconnections or massive lags. However, this also made me think of ways on how to cope with the said conditions. My audience and teammates eventually understood that internet is something beyond anyone’s control.”– Joselito Martin, Trainer
2. Interruptions/Distractions at Home
“It’s pretty tempting to slack off when your ps4 and tv monitors are literally in front of you. As a result, I take extra hours to complete my daily responsibilities at times. Additionally, it’s hard to push yourself to continue working especially after you just finished playing or watching. (Please don’t tell my boss)”– Joe Acuin, Team Leader
3. Heavier Workload
“The pressure of workload increases my productivity and makes me feel my job is secured. However it becomes stressful at times.”– Rich Javier, Growth Marketing Executive
4. Coordination Issues With Co-workers
“Communication is the only frustration I have around when a co-worker is unresponsive. When I was in the office, I could simply coordinate with them in person. It’s quite difficult to get direct answers if they don’t respond quickly via digital channels. Can’t even resolve problems that result in delays. But then WFH is the biggest advantage for me since I don’t have to waste my precious time in commuting (which is very stressful and depressing) I can spend it my time with my family and be with my daughter all day.”– Zhel Ramos, Medical Supervisor
5. Longer Working Hours
“It feels like I am working for more than the required 8 hours when I am at home because I tend to entertain emails from my boss and co-workers outside my working hours. For a while, this setup was okay but now it’s making me more stressed about work. When I am stressed about work, I am less likely to perform well.”– Billy Rey Sigayan, HR Assistant
Stress and Anxiety While Working From Home
When not properly dealt with, all of the major work from home challenges highlighted above – on top of other factors – may lead to stress, anxiety, and ultimately a decline in mental health. And while so many employees have developed a way to cope with stress in the traditional office setting, dealing with the stresses of the job right at home can be a completely different scenario.
With so many jobs under threat and job insecurity on the rise, employees are forced to face these stresses head on. And without the right solution, productivity suffers and the employee’s mental health and well-being are also at risk.
Strategies to Maintain Your Mental Health
Work from home may have started as a temporary arrangement for a lot of employees, but as the pandemic has dragged on and persisted longer than what most people have expected, remote work may just well be the new normal.
That is why it is important for employees not only to learn how to keep all stresses and anxieties at bay but also develop strategies on how to stay mentally healthy while getting the job done.
Here are a few ideas to do just that!
– Identify the things that stress you out
Whether it’s poor internet connection or the constant distractions at home that continuously irk and stress you out, you need to know what the problem is before you can arrive at the right solution.
– Create a clear work schedule even when at home
One of the problems with working from home is that what is professional and what is personal tend to be adjacent to each other and the boundaries between the two can often be blurred. A clear work schedule will create structure for you and will also set boundaries between work and life at home.
Take special attention to your sleeping and resting hours. Late bedtimes due to extended working hours or personal commitments at home can lead to an erratic sleeping schedule and may lead to more stresses down the line.
– Maintain an open line of communication
In these difficult times, your need to keep your physical distance but still be socially engaged. Openly communicating with your colleagues, despite not interacting with them face-to-face will not only improve your quality of work but will also help you maintain a positive relationship with the people you work with.
On top of that, be open to talking about work with the important people in your life – your family, your loved ones, and your friends. This will help you offload some of the stress you might be feeling and will make you feel less isolated.
– Take some time off to do other things
Having your home as your office may push you to just keep working and keep getting things done. But do not forget to relax and wind down. Use some of your extra time to keep your mind off work and do other things that you might enjoy. While the ongoing quarantine may restrict your options, simple activities like exercising, cooking your own meals, gardening or even watching Netflix will help you keep your mental health in check.
– Seek professional help when needed
On certain occasions, work stress can escalate into bigger problems like job burnout and may give rise to other issues such as anxiety, insomnia and other conditions. Know when to seek expert advice and keep in mind that when all else fails, professional help is available to you.
If you need a coaching or counselling session, our TMCC credentialed Psychologists and Psychiatrists are open to see patients in our Online Consult Service. Call (02) 8396-9899 to book a virtual appointment. Doctor’s fees are paid via our online payment gateway (VISA / Mastercard only).
Disclaimer: The names of some of the respondents have been changed to protect their privacy.