With a large number of homeworkers having now completed several full weeks at home alongside the kids and other family members, life may be feeling a bit tense and pressured at times for some! Juggling so many things at once is never going to be easy and life as we knew it has changed drastically!
Even those that think they have everything well planned out and organised can have their day turned upside down by technical problems or a sudden overwhelming rush of emotions. Pressure can be good to push you to get things done and be more productive, but if pressure gets too much it turns into stress. This is when recognising the signs of pressure and how to deal with it can be a real benefit to your health and wellbeing.
Sources of pressure
At the moment there may be a large number of factors for homeworkers that can build on stress. Below we look at a few sources of pressure and with many of these affecting us all at once, it’s no wonder our stress levels have likely risen. We look at some simple strategies to help deal with these pressures.
Others you share a home with may have conference calls and once the school holidays are over you may have have children trying to complete school work. It can make it difficult to concentrate and increase the likelihood of interruptions to your working day. If the pressure is on to complete a task then it is time to pause and think about how you can avoid interruptions. Could you just talk openly to those you share a house with? Explain that you have to complete a task and need their patience. Or could you provide some activities for the children, which may buy you some time to make that phone call or complete a report! Finding times which work best for completing tasks which need total concentration will help avoid situations where you feel pressured to complete work. Schedule video calls in at different times to anyone else who may be working alongside you. Discussing availability with household members at the start of the day and coordinating diaries may help important tasks and meetings go ahead with fewer disturbances.
Lack of Communication
If you are sitting at home with little or no contact with your manager or the rest of your team you may start to worry. A lack of information and direction can put unnecessary pressure on you. Keeping in touch with your manager and colleagues is so important. Not only does it give you the opportunity to voice concerns it also provides the chance to gain useful information towards how you can keep business operations running smoothly. Feeling part of a team will keep you motivated and regular contact will help prevent pressure from building.
If your workload is building up or perhaps it is at the other end of the scale and you have nothing to do, both of these things can lead to added pressure. iHASCO’s Time Management course provides some useful strategies to manage workloads, including making lists and prioritising work. This can help you get on top of the pressure before it leads to stress. Equally if your task list is lacking it can lead to boredom and become a source of stress. In this instance ask your manager for additional responsibilities or tasks so you can get more involved in something else. View our time management tips here for more ideas on managing your workload.
We’ve all been there - your laptop crashes or the printer will just not respond right at the very moment you need it the most! Technology failures can really pile on the pressure when you are up against it to get a task completed. Slow internet connections and video calls cutting out can also be frustrating. Make sure you have the contact number for IT Support in your organisation as getting some assistance can help resolve your issues more speedily.
Pressures do not just come from work but also other sources such as home life, finances, relationships, health concerns and many more. These pressures can affect your concentration on tasks. If you can be aware of what the destructive pressure is you can go towards resolving it or working out if it is a priority. Which? have produced an article explaining measures to help individuals with financial difficulties due to the impact of Coronavirus. Equally there is help out there if you feel stressed, in particular you should visit the NHS website as they have a lot of information on stress including symptoms and available support.
How to avoid pressures turning into stress
Reducing or preventing stress goes hand in hand with basic self care - like getting enough sleep each night, eating healthy food, doing regular exercise and taking breaks at work to get some fresh air or stretch your muscles. All these things help you to relax, so work out what’s best for you and incorporate them into your routine. And sometimes, the most effective strategy can simply be to talk to someone and allow them to help you.
Finding a strategy you can use everytime you start to feel overwhelmed can help you refocus and avoid pressure from building. At the moment there are so many pressures coming at homeworkers from all different directions but if you can recognise the signs of when pressure is uncomfortably building you can remain in control and avoid it getting the better of you.
Here are some ideas to help if you start to feel overwhelmed:
First stop what you are doing and breathe! Try making a cup of tea, calling a friend for a chat, listening to a favourite song or getting some fresh air to help stop pressure getting to you. You can view our stress busting tool here.
This can work when pressure comes from frustration from a task, a feeling of being overloaded with work or a tech problem but this may not go far enough for some sources of pressure. However the best step to recognising pressure is you and asking for help or talking to someone can go a long way, particularly if pressure has turned to stress. By understanding your pressures you can start to work out ways to deal with them and restore some calm in your life.
The iHASCO way
This is where I am pleased to be part of iHASCO. Not only does it give us access to a wealth of information such as our online Stress Awareness and Management training but also a great support team that recognises we are in this together!
Over the past couple of weeks iHASCO has provided plenty of support to every employee and even though we are spread across many locations we are still communicating, still sharing success stories and not putting things aside because it’s difficult.
Our monthly staff newsletter this month featured what employees love about being part of iHASCO and this response from Maggie sums up the iHASCO way perfectly, which avoids employees feeling pressured in their role!
Here are some of my reason why I love iHASCO:
1. iHASCO genuinely cares about the people who use our training and the staff who work hard to achieve great results, and want the best experience for both. They are true to their values
2. I love that I’m encouraged to try new things out and be innovative… and if it doesn’t work out I’m supported to learn lessons, dust myself off and try again
3. There is always something to laugh about every single day…laughing is good for my soul and my psychological wellbeing
4. It’s ok for me not to know everything, but boy am I learning so much so quickly
5. I love the people I work with across the company. I work with some awesome, talented, funny, dedicated staff. Now when we work from home I miss seeing them every day.
6. My job gives me the opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives and make a genuine difference every day. I go home and I know I made a real difference. It is so rewarding to see this, knowing that even if only indirectly, I have had a small part to play in that.