With companies recently transitioning to working from home and requiring their employees to work remotely to ease the spread of the COVID-19 virus, work-life imbalances become imminent. It poses a set of challenges because of the associated changes it goes along, including spending more time with a partner and the family than one normally would. Back in the office, we’re used to always seeing people at their desks working their heads off all day. Now, we see our partners and the children running around while you need to be comfortable to concentrate on an urgent report. Our attention becomes divided between relationship, family, and work. We tend to focus on whichever one needs it the most, and in many cases and because of economic pressures, probably our work. And this is where a relationship may struggle and a breakdown may take place.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the stress levels of many workers, some due to health reasons from the fear of contracting the virus while some and mostly associated with work. The fear of being laid off due to ongoing retrenchments, the exhaustion from the endless Zoom meetings and conferences, and the concern about dealing with a new setup are becoming too stressful for us. These along with the responsibilities at home build up stress and affect relationships at home.
Here, we provide some bits of advice on how to deal with this stressful situation to keep your relationship healthy, while adapting to this new way of working and help reduce anxiety working at home…
This shouldn’t be an issue when you already have a home office or one dedicated spot that becomes your workspace. If you don’t, then that makes it an issue as you have to treat your whole house as your office, which makes it harder for you to create a barrier between your home life and your office life. So, a good way to start is to find a space in the home where you can be on your own with your work and where members of the family can consider off-limits for family matters. It’s like you being at work when you’re not seen, but available for your family when you’re present.
While finding each other together during times of social distancing and isolation vital, having time apart from our partners may actually help keep our relationship intact. It might feel strange, but there are situations when we cannot be of rescue even if we see our partners gradually consumed by the stress associated with it. Even if we genuinely desire to help during tough times, there are times when allowing them to tackle their problems seem more appropriate, especially if it matters to their work. Having a separate time with each other will help both of you recharge and have some distance from your partner’s work stress so that you are not both immobilized by it. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
You’ll probably be on constant chitchats with your co-workers during these times and this is good. We can’t get all the support we need from our partners, especially if it’s work-related that we want to talk about. Have some time to chat with your office mates or anyone whom you’re comfortable talking with and maybe asking for advice regarding remote working. Keep it as natural and as normal as possible only that you’re doing it online through social media. It’ll take the pressure off your couple and it’ll give you a boost to help manage work stress. You may also reach out to your friends, other members of the family, or maybe a coach or counselor. This helps to increase your capacity and your partners to manage work stress.
There will be times that your partner would voice out something regarding work-related stresses. When this happens, it’s important to show engagement by listening and giving your partner your undivided attention. Allow your partner to openly share his or her frustrations, failures, or setbacks. Always hear what your partner says as he or she might just need to get something off his or her chest. This may probably the best way to show your support. You may show empathy and sympathy by simply using supportive and encouraging languages. Remember, they’ll need all the support and understanding they could get from you…