IT Best PracticesIT Staff & Team Building

The Stress of Remote Working

When people typically think about work stress, they imagine people chained to their work desks, putting in countless overtime. Or they just imagine people inundated by meetings and obligations. It is pretty rare that they imagine stress occurring in a remote working arrangement. But it exists, and it could escalate in seriousness as the workforce becomes more mobile. In a post at Hacker Noon, Martin De Wulf relates his experience with stress in remote working, including the following factors:

  • Dehumanization
  • Interruptions and multitasking
  • Overworking
  • Being a stay-at-home dad
  • Loneliness
  • Stress deciding where to work
  • Never being able to physically “leave” work
  • Career risk

Haunted by Stress

Working from home means doing the brunt of your communication in writing. The inability to physically chat over a cup of coffee can make you feel disconnected from the rest of the team, even if nobody intends for it to be that way. This can be dehumanizing. Even worse, you will be prone to receiving more random instant messages, since that is the fastest way for people to talk to you. This will break your concentration and demand more multitasking, which will hurt productivity.

Nonetheless, when you work from home, you are likely to feel an increased sense of obligation to deliver, e.g., “They trusted me to work from home. Now I need to show they were right to trust me by doing this demonstrable truckload of work.” This is noble and good—maybe even tragically necessary, sometimes—but it likely means that you are working longer and harder hours than you would if you had put in an earnest day’s work at the physical office.

Plus, even when you are done working for the day, your brain might not believe you. After all, your home is your workplace:

When you work remotely, you do not leave your working place at night. On top of that, if you work with people in different timezones, you might end up communicating a lot with people while your day is already over (I did that for months when working with people based in New York or SF). It often makes a lot of sense, since otherwise, you might have too few time to communicate with your team, and this can really hamper the progress of a project, but it means that there is no time in the day free of working concerns, which again, is bad for your mental health over the long run.

Also, working at home does not leave you time to cool off while coming back home from work.

And to top it all off, working remotely makes you less visible to the rest of the business, making it harder for you to move up the job ladder. Boy, remote working sounds like an awful gig when framed in these terms. But how you choose to frame it really is everything. If you proactively account for stress factors like these, maybe you actually can have a fulfilling remote working experience.

For further thoughts, you can view the original post here:

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