The pandemic hit us like a grenade in 2020 and brought a whole slew of changes with it.
We found ourselves washing our hands countless times a day. We started wearing masks. We saw the birth of culinary trends like Dalgona Coffee and Banana Bread. We even chuckled at Danish Sait’s ingenious videos (“Thoo, Bewarsi Kudka…” XD).
But if there’s one word that has come to define the pandemic times for India Inc., it would be work-from-home.
Sure, working from home has had its benefits. It has given most of us plenty of time to spend with our families. It has helped us save on commute time and costs. Not only this, but research has also shown that it can boost our productivity by 13.5 %. That’s equivalent to one extra day of work per week!
However, it’s not always a bed of roses.
What tend to get obscured by the statistics of benefits and productivity are the adverse effects of work-from-home
So, what are these negative effects of work-from-home?
There have been several intriguing and frankly, alarming research findings in this area. A recent survey found that employees working from home-
1. Felt isolated, shunned and left out
2. Struggled with building trust and a sense of belongingness at work
3. Reported low job motivation and job satisfaction
4. Experienced a decline in their mental health.
The most significant negative impact of all was that employees could not ‘switch off’ from their work-mode at the end of the day, resulting in exhaustion and even burnout.
How would one get around these negative aspects of work from home?
Well, there’s good news. Research has discovered several fascinating ways in which we can trick our brains into achieving work-life balance. Let’s look into 4 of them:
1. Dress for Success
Zoom meetings have made it the new normal to dress well…up until your chest. Because no one will see that you’re wearing shorts, right?
Well, a study conducted by The Wall Street Journal found that waking up in the morning and dressing exactly like you would, if you were going to the office can trick your brain into thinking that you actually are headed out for work.
This can boost your performance incredibly. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get that tie and blazer out and dress for success!
2. Take a virtual coffee break
This includes consuming some real coffee, tea or any other beverage your prefer.
We’re serious. Take a look at this telling statement made by Tsedal Neeley, a Harvard Business School Professor about the impact of working from home. “People lost the unplanned watercooler or cappuccino conversations with colleagues in remote work. These are actually big and important parts of the workday that have a direct impact on performance.”
How would we get around this issue? Well, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say, “ ‘Zoom’ to the rescue!”
Scheduling virtual coffee breaks with co-workers at a fixed time everyday can be almost as good as in-person interactions for our brains. Video calls where you drink coffee (or tea, or juice, we’re not picky!) with each other can uplift our mood, and help us unwind, and bond with our co-workers!
3. Fake it till you make it
We’re talking about faking your travel routine, of course.
“The walls between work and non-work have completely disappeared for us. So now we have to find ways, either psychologically or otherwise to try to build up those walls again,” states David Zweig, professor at the University of Toronto.
Experts claim that faking a travel routine can be the best way to build back these boundaries. They say that waking up every morning with the motive of getting dressed for work and heading out the door works. You dash off for a short walk and come back after a make-believe commute!
Nita Chhinzer, professor at the University of Guelph, advocates that doing so might be the most effective way to trick your brain into differentiating between work-time, and personal time.
4. Groove it to the beat
What most of us struggle with when it comes to work from home is jumping straight into the work-day as soon as our alarm goes off. Because let’s face it, that’s the reality on most days.
If getting dressed or faking travel right in the morning seems like too much effort right in the morning, here’s an easier solution for you.
Experts say that having a “transition song” can help you get into the mood for work. Listening to your favourite music can at once uplift your spirits and motivate you to work. All you need is to keep your collection of tunes handy and get into the groove. If music gets you tapping your feet to the rhythm, it is sure to act as a ‘vitamin’ to help you accomplish your tasks.
So, what do you think? You must have some idea in your mind about where to start in order to trick your brain into achieving good work-life balance? Try them out and let us know!
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