April 11, 2015

What You Need to Succeed at Working from Home

work_from_home_surveyWeaving through traffic while trying to make it to the daycare center before 6pm, Nancy’s mind drifted. What would it be like to ditch this daily grind of racing to the daycare before closing time?

– What if she didn’t have to do the commute to get to work?

– What if she could go and come as she pleased? Sweet freedom!

– What if she could have full control of her work day and work in her jammies at times?

– What if she could pick up the kids after school instead of having them go to after-school care?

Yep, all her present work stress would disappear once she quit her office job and started working from home. So Nancy took that leap. She quit her job and it’s been peaches and cream ever since.

Fairy tale, huh? Here is Nancy’s work-from-home reality:

» Instead of being stressed in the rush-hour traffic, she is now stressed 24/7. Working longer hours? No, she is working ALL the time, now tethered to her smart phone and her laptop.

» She feels isolated and lonely.

» She feels guilty about the fact that although she is home when the kids get back from school, she is not present with them. Something that wasn’t a problem when she worked outside of the home is now an issue. Before, she was able to leave work at work.

» She is gaining weight and not sleeping well.

» The worst part is the lack of respect for her time and contribution by friends and family members who assume she is home all day doing nothing. Not to mention all the honey-dos her spouse is now assigning to her. Nancy is now seriously considering folding this work-from-home set up and going back to getting a job outside of the home.

We conducted the Work-From-Home Woman Wellbeing Survey at Healthgist.com and heard from 256 women who work from home. They shared their triumphs and told us how they made the decision to work from home for the freedom, flexibility and control this work arrangement affords while being present for their families. They shared the conflicts, the struggles and the frustrations they were going through; some bordering on clinical depression.

While each woman’s story was unique, the patterns were all very similar. Are you nursing dreams of working from home or have you already taken the plunge? You have a high risk of experiencing burnout. Here is why:

Excelling and thriving in your work-from-home environment hinges on one thing and one thing only: Your sense of control (or lack of it) over your work life.

The 4 pillars you need to feel in control of are as follows:

•    Your mind
•    Your body
•    Your work day
•    Your work space

Think of it as a four-legged stool. If one leg is missing, you might still be able to sit on the stool as long as you have a wall to lean on while seated. If 2 legs are off the four-legged stool, forget it. When you feel like “I’ve got this,” you work efficiently and your productivity is top-notch. When you feel a loss of control in any one of the four pillars, the “cookie” starts to crumble and you feel overwhelmed. That loss of control causes despair and hopelessness. If things are not rectified, you start to spiral downward and depression sets in. This is not a desirable place to be.

So get to work on gaining control of your mind, your body, your work day and your work space. As a result, you will thrive when working from home, earn a decent living, and maintain your sanity while being present for your family.

About the Author: Dr. Bola is a family physician with a fondness for women’s health and women’s lifestyle issues. She is the co-founder of Healthgist.com, the hub for honest health talk for busy women. How are you are faring in your work-from-home arrangement? Get your Work-From-Home Wellbeing Index by taking the quiz.


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