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Managing emotions when you work from home: a reality check (Part 1/3)

by | Sep 14, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I started working from home, in New Delhi, in 2011 for a company headquartered in Switzerland. Back then, it was extremely rare to be working from home. Most people assumed that I worked less (if you’re home – why would you work more?) and that I benefited from an amazing work-life balance. Today, however, everyone knows that “working from home = challenging work/life balance.” 

When you work from home, you often feel guilty. You feel guilty every time you leave the screen to do something else (shouldn’t you be working?!) You feel guilty for working long hours and not being mentally available for those around you at home. Basically, whether you’re working or not, you feel guilty. 

Another common emotion when you work from home is anxiety. When you work in the office, you leave a large part of your work stress when you physically leave the office. At home, you carry this stress permanently with you, which often turns stress into outright anxiety. 

Working from home can also make you feel lonely and unsupported. It’s much harder to reach out to a colleague to ask for help (maybe he’s busy?). You end up trying to do things on your own a lot more. You also miss out on a lot of the emotional connection that happens naturally when you spend time around your colleagues. 

These emotional challenges are having a very real impact on women.

  • US data shows that women’s participation in the workforce dropped to a 33-year low due to the pandemic because many women quit their jobs to take on the additional responsibilities at home. 
  • Pre-pandemic, research in the US showed that 68% of working women experienced burnout against 58% of men. Numbers have now crossed 70% for women, 62% of which admitted to taking time off work because of stress. 
  • In the current situation, women are four times more likely to leave their jobs than men.

Working from home can be particularly difficult for women for three reasons. 

  1. Women working from home tend to struggle to resist the pull to do more domestic chores, thereby increasing their workload.
  2. Women tend to rely more on emotional connection while navigating relationships at work, which has become much harder when working remotely.
  3. Women, especially ambitious women, have a tendency to believe that they need to do everything themselves. When you’re sitting in your home alone, that tendency gets reinforced. 

⇒ This puts a lot of ambitious women at a high mental health risk. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

There are ways for you to make the most out of working remotely. In fact, the option to work remotely can be an amazing advantage for many ambitious women. Over the next three weeks, I will be sharing an expert’s best practices so that you, too, can not just survive but thrive whilst working remotely. 

Patricia Manso managed a global team from home way before Covid 

To share some best practices to make the most of working remotely, I interviewed my ex-boss, Patricia Manso. Patricia is the head of agriculture and metals analytics at S&P Global Platts. She lives in Switzerland, where she works from home and manages a team of people from 11 nationalities living in seven different countries. She started working remotely years before the pandemic. She was my “remote” boss for several years. So I can testify of her skills first hand. 

Part 1 Working from home: A reality check 

In this first part, Patricia talks about the emotional challenges she went through when she first started working – and managing people – from home, several years before the pandemic. 

She talks about: 

-the difficulties she had setting healthy boundaries 

-how she struggled to keep “me” time

-how working from home may not be as flexible as it looks 

-why we can’t apply the same “rules” when working in the office and working from home

In the next episode, Patricia will share some of the biggest mistakes she made in the process of adjusting to working remotely and how she learned to adjust her leadership and managerial skills. 

Are you working from home and struggling to find your place? Do you feel emotions get in the way and are holding you back? 

Learning to use emotions can change your life for the better. That’s what I specialise in. I help ambitious women turn emotions into their strongest allies. 

Want to chat about it? You can book a discovery session (free). You can also check out my coaching program. 

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