- Remote working: the new normal at work
- (Forced) social isolation
- Remote work and stress burnout syndrome
- Risk factors for stress caused by remote work
- Some tips for dealing with "smart working" in a "smart" way
- Why CBD can help with remote work-induced stress
Remote working: the new normal at work
Working from home has become a common practice for many companies in the last couple of years, the “new normal” at work that has been forced on many companies and their employees by the covid pandemic lockdowns, and the need for social distancing. While some companies already operated with many resources in remote working mode even before the pandemic, for most businesses the remote working model has been (and somehow still is) a new and challenging strategy that still needs to be fully metabolized.
From the employees’ standpoint, on certain occasions, remote working can lead to stressful conditions and shocking changes in new routines that one must adapt to. The first effect the "agile working mode” brought to our lives, was that we had to rethink and replan our work-life balance.
Due to the covid pandemic, everybody had fewer opportunities to interact with individuals outside the circle of family and friends, and the chances of external conflicts have also decreased. Unfortunately, the number of internal conflicts at home surged, with an increase in requests for mental health care support, mostly for cases of stress and depression.
(Forced) social isolation
The major problem related to remote work is certainly the state of social isolation. People who live alone are more likely to suffer from social isolation than those who share a home with someone, be they, adults or children.
When people are forced to find a residence far from their friends or relatives for work needs, they might end up living alone, perhaps in the proximity of their work location, and most of their social relationships are concentrated in the workplace. Consequently, those who found themselves in this situation during a forced social isolation period, such as in the case of the recent pandemic, had to give up company dynamics and moments of leisure among colleagues, with significant psychologic consequences due to having to give up the only social relations they eventually built at their workplace.
In a diametrically opposite situation, some people might live stressful situations at home where they are forced to cope with a broken relationship with their partner, or with a conflictual relationship with their sons and daughters or other family members. These people can’t wait to leave their home in the morning, as they find a more relaxed environment at work, and often also more relaxed interactions with their colleagues. In such cases, a forced state of remote work from home can sound like the worst punishment ever.
Another factor tied to the isolation in remote work is the fulfillment of one's responsibilities; many people find that the constant connection to the Internet throughout the day, both for work and personal needs, is too stressful. Renouncing in-person meetings and teamwork to find themselves on a video call in between other computer tasks, is a situation that many have complained about. Also, while in many circumstances remote working allows for greater flexibility in the daily scheduling of work activities, it also implies that not all employees in a company are always available to be online at the same time.
Remote work and stress burnout syndrome
More than half of the homebound employees during the covid pandemic have expressed concern about the stress and psychological risks remote working entails. In theory, this work modality should have improved the balance between work and private life. “Agile work” was a dream of many, especially of those commuting workers forced to grind many kilometers to reach the workplace, or for those whose hope was to devote more time to their loved ones and to their passions by having more free time available.
However, in many cases remote working proved to be a double-edged sword, as the new working circumstances required immersive operating conditions, so much to risk burnout due to increasing stress.
Burnout in the “home workplace” is a common problem, as it is difficult to distinguish between work and private life. It is also based on the desire or inability to separate from one's work, canceling one's private living spaces or generating promiscuous scenarios in which professional and personal duties merge without defined boundaries.
Risk factors for stress caused by remote work
Remote work burnout can be triggered by a variety of different circumstances. Managing stress, work organization, the presence of a family network that generates distractions, the type of work performed, and the more or less favorable conditions, such as pressing hours, differences in retribution, bad relationships with low or superior colleagues, are all factors that contribute to stress.
There are many ways in which the combination of these aspects could lead to a major crisis, both in terms of work and goals. Symptoms of burnout syndrome such as fatigue, depression, and irritability are common, also causing insomnia, headaches, discomfort, helplessness, anxiety, and guilt.
There are several ways to reduce the danger of smart working exhaustion. The first step is to set achievable goals rather than aiming for unattainable results. It is also important to establish a clear distinction between personal and professional activities and hours so that the list of tasks is well defined, with a clear separation between the areas of personal life and those of working life.
As impossible as it may sometimes be, due to the square footage of the houses we live in, those who work in remote mode should have a separate workspace, rather than using the same room and table for lunch. In addition, taking a few minutes off, allowing the mind and body to relax and recharge is certainly helpful so that when returning to work, the remote worker will be more energetic and enthusiastic about the task at hand.
Some tips for dealing with "smart working" in a "smart" way
To avoid getting overworked while working in smart mode, here are some tips on how to keep yourself safe. If you work from home and feel a lot of pressure, you'll be happy to know you're not the only one. There are many ways to cope with the stress of working from home. Here are some things you can do to reduce overall stress:
Create a routine
It doesn't matter what kind of work you do or how many hours you must work. Making a routine can help you manage your time better and focus on your work. In your routine you could set times to go for a walk, to stretch, or to have a cup of coffee or tea whenever you think it’s time for a break.
Set an alarm for the morning: wake up at the same time every day so that you have time to get ready for your work. Wake-up time can depend on how long you need to be fully functioning in the morning.
Set a time for lunch: the best way to make sure you have a regular lunchtime is to set it. Make sure you have lunch at the same time every day. This gives you a much-needed break and gives you time to eat and drink before heading back to work. During your lunch break, be sure to completely unplug to enjoy your time away from work. If the weather is good, try spending some time outdoors doing some physical activity and breathing exercises before going back to work.
When your working hours are over, you should have another “end of routine” routine, putting away your computer and lighting a candle to mark the end of your working day. Or starting your music setup to listen to your favorite music. Or calling a friend for a chat. Or going for a walk or a run. Or lounging on your sofa to watch a movie. Whatever you do, it should be a routine that means “OK, no more work for today”.
Plan your working day
If you can choose which projects or activities to work on, do the hardest ones first so you don't feel overwhelmed later in the day. It may take a few weeks or months for you to get used to your new work-from-home schedule but don’t worry, if you manage it through a healthy routine, you will eventually find your balance.
Create a separate workspace
While it may be tempting to curl up in bed to do some work, try to create a workspace where you can focus. The boundaries between work and home can help you mentally transition from home life to work. Even if you only work in a small corner of your home, this can help you mentally move from home to work. Quitting work at the “home office” when the day is done can also help you put it aside.
Keep your phone and computer notifications off when you are ready to work and, in case you live with other people, share with your family or roommates your working hours, and clearly indicate that you cannot be disturbed at those times.
Connect with your friends
If you feel isolated when working from home, it is important to try to connect with people who can help you. Set a time to video chat or call your friends or colleagues and put it on the calendar. Group chat can also help you stay connected throughout the week.
Reward yourself for your hard work
To keep your motivation high, break down the big tasks into smaller ones, and structure your workflow into manageable steps. Most importantly, reward yourself when you close a task. Our physical and mental needs come first; we cannot satisfy the wishes of others until our basic needs are met. Take care of your mind and body, it will be good for you and the company you work for.
To help your body and mind restore balance at the end of the working day, we also recommend that you try CBD products. We recommend CBD because it works! If you know someone who uses CBD cannabis every day, they can tell you how they can feel more relaxed and sleep better even in stressful situations.
Why CBD can help with remote work-induced stress
1. CBD increases motivation
A recent study suggests that CBD can help motivate by activating 5-HT1A receptors and increasing motivation. Due to video call fatigue and longer working days, an added incentive can help increase productivity. CBD can also be taken during the day, using MA True Cannabis CBD oils, which thanks to their practical spray dispenser allow you to enjoy CBD without wasting time, with a simple gesture.
2. CBD improves mental health
CBD has been shown to improve brain circuits and therefore thinking while improving memory, creativity, and motivation in healthy people. CBD can be a safe and natural way to improve cognitive functions. A great way to relax is certainly to smoke a joint of MA True Cannabis on the balcony of your home, while you scan the horizon. MA True Cannabis Pre-rolls are tasty and fragrant, and are nicotine and tobacco-free, as the CBD cannabis in the Pre-rolls is blended with organic officinal herbs.
3. CBD is a stress reliever
The mental effects of CBD are unknown. To produce serotonin, endocannabinoids (self-produced cannabinoids) connect to dedicated receptors in our brains. Working from home with children, roommates or noisy neighbors can be quite difficult, and serotonin (which helps you sleep better) will certainly give a positive edge that helps to deal with stress. CBD can also be taken in the form of CBD-based herbal teas, which are perfect to be enjoyed before going to sleep.
Even remote work, for those who are not used to the work-from-home routine, can be stressful. We remind you, however, that there are many people who have always worked in smart working, such as freelancers, who over time have become accustomed to remote work and consider this condition less stressful because it has now become a daily habit of their professional life. Habits can change for everyone, and what once caused stress can become enjoyable over time.