How Work from Home Can Reduce Your Stress
Many people are wary of working from home; many employers too. They imagine it will lead to a decline in productivity and happiness, creating a higher turnover rate. Perhaps you worry, your boss will watch you like a hawk.
However, following the grand experiment of the past few months, many are reconsidering the value of remote work and how it can lead to better work-life balance.
The Long Commute
Commuting has been branded ‘the stress that doesn’t pay’. Hours are spent bumper to bumper, or on buses, trams and trains, with serious adverse effects for our mental health. Research from the University of Montreal found that the longer you commute, the more likely you are to experience adverse symptoms. Just 20 minutes a day can make you ‘stressed and cynical’. That’s not good for your work, nor you.
Commuting leaves you without any sense of control. The unpredictability of congestion causes anxiety about getting to work on time. All this leads to social isolation, anger, frustration and eventually deep mental health problems. When you work remotely, you don’t have to worry about getting to work. You’re already there.
Plus, every extra hour of commuting sees a 6% decrease in stress-busting activities such as sleep, exercise, food preparation, and shared meals.
With all the time you’ve gained, you can reduce any work-life conflicts. Want to drop the kids off at school. No problem. Need to visit your elderly parents to see if they’re ok. Go right ahead. Working from home puts you in life’s drivers’ seat.
Spend time enjoying a cup of coffee, a walk with your dog, or a conversation with your partner. Instead of spreading yourself thin, you’ll be able to give more time to each aspect of your life. It’ll even make you more productive at your job.
It’s little surprise that according to an anonymous Dice survey, avoiding the office was the most desired perk of a job.
When you’re saving money on your daily commute – in 2011, Americans spend $121 billion on congestion alone – or not forking out for lunches and other office expenses, you can save yourself a small fortune. You can even move out of the big expensive city, to a more rural or small-town location, where costs better match your budget. Considering financial worries are one of the primary drives of mental health, having more money in your pocket should be of the utmost importance.
Create a Relaxing Work Environment
Fluorescent lights. Rustling paper. The clatter of trolleys or the thumping of doors. Office gossip. Hot and humid or dry and frigid. Bizarre food smells. Offices are not pleasant places to work. In and of themselves, they can induce stress.
When working from home, you can create a space for you. Add soft lightening, paintings and plants, a picture of your loved ones, or a perfumed diffuser. Plants have even been shown to reduce stress and negative feelings by 30 to 60 per cent.