The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many areas of our life, including how we work. It has played a catalytic role in changing the mindset of employers and employees about our work arrangements.
It has also helped break down cultural and technological barriers for remote work. Work from home has become a part of our life. For some of us, it has made our life comfortable. However, it has become a challenge for some of us, and we are struggling with it.
Common WFH Challenges
1. Distractions We don multiple hats with other family members and kids at home. Multi-tasking can easily become a reason for the lack of undivided attention to the task, leading to reduced efficiency. This gets multiplied if both parents are WFH. Syncing both parents’ calendars with the kids’ timetables is too much to juggle.
2. Lack of social interaction Humans are social animals and need social interaction to thrive. The traditional office space allowed chit-chat near the coffee machine, the conversations during lunch break, even our colleagues were always there in the adjacent cubicle. All these helped us build real-world relationships. It also created mentorship and networking opportunities. Due to lack of face-to-face interaction, there is a fear of missing out (FOMO) in the workplace setting.
3. Blur between work and life Many struggle to draw a line between work and personal life. Meetings, work emails, and messages are intruding into personal space. Many are even reporting to be working more hours than before. The increased hours are not translating into enhanced results for most.
Hacks that will help you ace the WFH game
Here are some tips recommended by Mannki experts:
Break the monotony
Dress up as if you are in the office. Take a break between work. Move around, do some stretches, take five deep breaths, go out to the park, listen to music or watch a TV show. Have some “Me time.” Or even do “nothing” for a certain time.
Set aside a definite work area
For instance, don’t sleep/eat and work in the same area. Keeping a defined work area helps you create a clearer boundary between work and life. Co-working hubs or co-working spaces allow you to be online with friends when working, go to a cafe/another place to WFH
Set some flexible ground rules for everyone at home
Reduce TV volume at meeting times. Share household chores.
Understanding loneliness can hurt
Zoom calls are fine, but you have to talk with real humans. Open up about your difficulties with a trusted friend/family member or colleague. One of the activities in the Mannki 30 day challenge is to have a buddy. You can also have fun with other daily challenges. Look for these in the well-being kit as well as the app.
Be kind- to yourself and others
Understand everyone is stressed- at your homes and your colleagues.
What Is Burnout?
There are mixed results regarding WFH. Not everyone is in the same boat. This past year has pushed many people to experience stress like never before. It isn’t uncommon for most of you to feel overwhelmed. Some of you might be experiencing a medical condition called burnout.
Burnout is a medical condition resulting from high work demand. Burnout is a state of physical and psychological exhaustion.
Key symptoms of burnout:
exhaustion (more in women)
detachment (more in men)
lack of accomplishment
There can be fatigue, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, aches, and pains.
According to a study, 95% of HR leaders reported employee burnout. While job stress might be a major cause for burnout, there can be other factors, such as less sleep, lack of support system, or the pressure you put on yourself. Happens due to excessive stress and inability to cope.
It can be unhealthy to normalise burnout. Burnout can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, or even premature death. Japanese has a word called Karoshi, “death resulting from overwork.
How Can You Help Someone With Burnout?
Here are a few things you can do when you or your colleague is experiencing burnout:
Be aware of signs and turn toward complicated feelings with kindness and compassion
Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way (angry, sad?)”. Explore your feelings. Feelings are like tunnels. You need to go till the end to get the light. So acknowledge your feeling, tell “It’s ok. I am going through a tough time. What can I do now?” You can journal them down. If someone you know is going through this, then be kind to them. Hear them out.
A bubble of love/ care for each other
Create a space at home where your family cares for your well-being. It starts with you. Let others hear you out. Build connection, get support
Change work pattern
Take breaks (20 mins get up, walk around), have some time for yourself (keep some time away from the phone)
Exercise, sleep well, eat a balanced diet. Helps prepare the body to deal with the stress that you’re going through
Just tell your body, “Relax! Relax”. Does that help? Of Course not. You need to change your body’s physiological state. We did deep breathing exercises in our last session. You can do that. Apart from that, you can also do muscle relaxation. E.g., tense and relax your muscles. Your body needs to feel that it is in a safe space.
Mannki is a mental health app available in the google play store for android phones. We at Mannki are trying to improve the screening and diagnosis of mental health in India by continuously tracking the user's mental wellness journey. As with other apps, there are concerns related to informational privacy and data security (Maher et al., 2019), we at Mannki take privacy issues seriously which ensures that there is no data leakage. The app uses clinician-recommended diagnostic tests alongside passive sensing through a user's smartphone to help them understand their mental health better.
Mannki aims to overcome many of the challenges like imprecise user inputs, lack of diagnostic markers, stigma, and poor access. We are trying to bring transparency and care for undiagnosed problems with precise and measurable inputs. Currently, we are in a research phase where we are trying to collaborate with institutes to understand behavioral markers and build algorithms for various psychiatric disorders.
Join us and support us on this endeavour. Write to us at email@example.com