Globally the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic makes people work from home, the “New Normal”. In India, around 85 per cent of the IT workforce is working from home and only those performing critical functions are going to offices. Some studies and surveys revealed that work from home increased productivity, better employment options, job satisfaction, and lower office cost. People have a misconception that working from home is much easier than getting the job done in an office. But the reality is most are experiencing stress, especially women working from home. According to a survey by LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index, around 50% of India’s working women are feeling overstressed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey is conducted among 2,254 professionals in India, during the period July 27 & August 23. It revealed that the pandemic is taking a toll on the emotional well-being of India’s working women, where 47% of women reported that they are experiencing more stress or anxiety. For men, this number stood at 38% only. The causes of increased stress among women are child care, working till late to make up for work, unable to focus on work with their children at home, and difficult to balance office & domestic work.
Women who are working from home realised that it is not proving to be the dream experience they expected. They are experiencing more stress due to a variety of reasons, including extra workload at home, work pressure, family pressure, shutting down of schools, and absence of domestic helpers. Though identifying the sources of stress is not an easy task, realising those stressors are the best solution to reduce it. For that, you should keep a close check on your circumstances, routines, habits, attitude, excuses and time management. Once you sincerely analyse these factors, you can find out the solutions too. Women with small kids, especially at the age group of 1-3, find it very difficult to manage work from home. Such moms have to establish a focus time each day, like early in the morning before the kids wake up, or their nap time, or late at night after they are asleep. You have to take one or two hours each day to focus your concentration to complete the tasks. For that, prioritise your tasks, plan & organise it well and try the maximum to stick to it. If needed, be ready to change your schedule and reprioritize it to accomplish something that is most important. Another solution is you can arrange a place for the kids in your working room with their favourite snacks, toys, books or gadgets.
The other measures you can adopt to reduce stress are:
- Limit your work activities and don’t try to be a superwoman. Seek help from husband and other family members to take care of children or do other household chores.
- You should dress up for work rather than wearing pyjamas or other casuals. It helps other family members and children to realise that you are in the office. It also helps to put your brain in productive mode.
- Fix a time to check the emails, calls, messages, appointments and meetings. Create a weekly to-do-list rather than a daily to-do-list and make an effective list of priorities.
- Take short breaks, chat with your friends or watch funny videos/skits. When you laugh, the brain releases endorphins(happy hormones) that reduce the level of stress-causing hormones like cortisol & adrenaline.
- Make me-time a priority. Always remember the phrase “work to live, not live to work”. Self-care helps you to lead a confident & more balanced life. Make time for yourself in your schedule based on your likes which will recharge you.
Last but not least, cultivating acceptance is very important when having to cope with a lot of stress. Accepting negative emotions can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.Now it is a trend to see a lot of “positivity” talks. But force to feel or talk positively in terrible situations will take a serious toll on your mental health.So be honest about how you feel.Express your negative emotions to your friends or family members who makes you feel secure and calm. Along with that, take a deep breath and make a room for good thoughts in your mind that bring hope.