Before the pandemic broke out early this year, people were living normal lives. You wake up early to prepare for work, drive to and from the office, or squeeze in time go to the gym. But the new normal is staying inside the comfort of your home, attending Zoom meetings, and maybe some home workout. Most companies employed remote work arrangements to ensure the health and safety of their workforce. Some prefer this because of the flexibility remote work apparently offers and saving money and time from daily commuting. But is the shift to virtual employment actually mentally and physically healthy for you? If you answered no, here are the common challenges you might face and how you can overcome them:
Human interaction and mental health
Connecting with colleagues and friends is as easy as clicking a link that will redirect you to a videoconference room. While this can increase work productivity, interacting with your team virtually lacks a personal touch. At times, you even feel secluded from your team and find it hard to build rapport. Collaborating with your team face-to-face is not the same as collaborating on some online document or worksheet.
In some instances, prolonged remote work can even affect your mental health and induce higher stress levels. To prevent anyone in your team from feeling isolated, try organizing a game day for everyone to participate. This can help build camaraderie between the team and have something that can steer their attention from work for a while. If you are the team lead, you can also talk to your team personally to assure them you are ready to listen if they need you.
Physical and dental health
Staying fit before the pandemic is already difficult. Imagine not being able to go to the gym or a quick run, then binging on your favorite Ben & Jerry’s while streaming your favorite Netflix series after a long day. Not being able to burn more calories than you consume can easily make you gain weight. With limited movements and lack of exercise, you are definitely not burning the calories you are supposed to, which can easily lead to being overweight while working from home. You might not even realize it, but your favorite business suit you used to wear to work might not even fit you anymore.
With discipline, remedying weight gain can be easy. There are many apps and online workouts you can follow. Allocating even just 30 minutes a day to burn those calories you ate last night can make a difference.
How about your dental health? Have you visited your go-to dental clinic this year to have your semi-annual check-up? When was the last time you actually had an oral prophylaxis? Teeth cleaning and whitening are two things you cannot neglect. Unfortunately, you can follow no apps and tutorials to remedy your oral hygiene problems, and you need to visit your dentist. And if you haven’t visited your dentist for the past six to twelve months, tartar buildup and yellowed teeth can be harder to remedy than usual. If simple teeth whitening can’t do the job, there are dental procedures you can avail of, such as dental bonding and veneers, to restore your picture-perfect smile. Whatever dental procedure you need, resolving your dental problems will require you to leave your house and drop by at the clinic.
Work/life balance is something many of us struggle to keep. Even before the pandemic, many of us can’t adhere to a healthy mix of work and personal life. Some people think that remote work can actually offer well-balanced time management for career and self-improvement, but the reality is, some remote workers tend to be more overworked. Since you are at home almost 24/7, you might find working for extended hours is normal rather than the exception.
Of course, rendering more hours than you are supposed to is an unwritten rule in your contract, but this does not mean you can’t do anything about this. Start and end working like how you normally would if you were in the office. This ensures you can finish your tasks within the day and there is no need for working overtime. After you finish your tasks for the day, log off from any productivity apps. Avoid checking your messages or emails after working hours. Inform your team to call you if there are really urgent tasks that need to be done after your shift.
We all miss the pre-pandemic world we used to live in. However, this is our reality now. We are all still adjusting to the new normal but this does not mean we should neglect our mental and physical health. Even with work-from-home arrangements, we must keep a healthy work/life balance and a sound mind and body.