Adapting to working from home is stressful, said Steelcase principal Tracy Brower, who’s also a sociologist, author of Bring Life Back to Work by Bringing Life to Work and contributor to Forbes.com and Fast Company. She was speaking on a recent ICSC Connect Virtual Series episode, Best Practices for Managing Stress at Work. “The more you can remind yourself that you’re adapting, the better you can feel about the stress you’re encountering,” she said.
Understand the time you need during the day to reflect in order to process assignments, conversations, ideas and meetings, she suggested. “When you’re working in a home office, you actually have less time to reflect. In a more traditional office, you’re moving from place to place. When you’re driving from building to building or even moving from one conference room to another, it gives you that little time to reflect.”
Working in non-home settings also provides special memory, a connection between an idea and a place or thing, she said. “Special memory is really important, but when you’re working from home, it all looks the same. You may be having some nuanced conversations, but it all looks the same and it doesn’t give you the same sense of spacial memory.” Back-to-back Zoom calls aren’t inspiring, either, she said. “It’s mentally challenging. Learn what that reflection process is for yourself. Some people will take a walk around the living room between their Zoom meetings or go out on the fire escape.”
The more you adapt and the more you validate that, the less such stress will bother you. “Get that little bit of reflection and break in the action,” she said. “Our brains are plastic, not elastic. They stretch to a new place, and they don’t necessarily come back.”
The full ICSC Connect Virtual Series episode is available here (Chrome works best).
By Brannon Boswell