Work From Home Stress Is Real. Who Would’ve Thought?

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Work from home stress: Is it real? Is it a hoax? How long is it here to stay? Does it indicate the beginning of the end? Is the apocalypse near? Okay, this is getting stressful. 

I belong to that breed of my generation to whom stress doesn’t come easy. There’s usually a levity in most things, and I, along with countless other millennials accused of being “indifferent,” am able to see it. Thankfully. But all’s not rosy in our world. Because when it gets dark, it gets dark. For when stress comes, it wreaks havoc on our most fundamental of lifelines: from endless social media scrolling time to endlessly bizarre sleep schedules.

When the early rays of work from home stress hit me first, it came as a joy. For someone who thrives on writing per odd deadlines, night-owlish schedules, and frenzied overloading of pressure, what better than a little stress to fuel me along, right? Right. Or that was what I thought then. A year ago when the coronavirus pandemic seemed to every simpleton in the world a yet another touch-and-go ‘flu.’ 

Just one month more. Okay, two months now. Random people on the internet are saying some graph or the other is showing a dip. Surely, this nightmare must end soon?

Somewhere I find myself asking: Is work from home stress affecting my productivity?

But it didn’t. How fool I was to have believed my optimistic instincts. Almost a year later, as work from home stress ties in with my daily schedules – threatening to never leave me as does this damned virus to the world – I sit cursing my optimism. Because it’s hardly work from home anymore. It’s work from stress. 

Work From Home Stress: A Bane To Productivity? 

Ever since I dreamt of being a working woman, the first condition – believe it or not – was that I would choose a profession that would grant the luxury of remote work. I seemed to have conveniently missed the fact that I have a strong affinity to laziness too. The best of both worlds, or so it goes. 

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Too much work from home?

As months pass, of me having achieved, living, and continuing to exist in that dream, I realise I may have overlooked the nightmarish part of it. Inklings of any kind of time table are non-existent. The comfy bed becoming a workspace is breaking my back, quite literally. Snack breaks are round-the-clock, as are work times. Zoom calls may drop in unannounced. Early login means compromising on sleep. Late login means compromising on sleep. And a closed door is an open invitation for any family member to come bearing news of the latest gossip being passed around of the most distant of relatives.  

As per a BBC report, and several others, think-tanks and corporate moguls across the world are postulating that the pandemic has paved the way for a new ‘hybrid’ way of working that could change the nature of work forever. Work from home may well become the norm. Which means work from home stress may well follow suit. Now that is starting to sound like a nightmare.

Somewhere I find myself asking: Is work from home stress affecting my productivity? Could I be thinking clearer, writing better had I been working out of an office space or a spunky, overpriced cafe where people come to look busy? 

I wonder, dressed in the comfiest of pyjamas, with my hair loose and untidy, as I take a sip of my decently priced coffee while replying to a work colleague restricted to only my laptop screen. And I have my answer. 

Views expressed are the author’s own.