“What we are living now is not a home office. We are confined at home with work”, defines psychoanalyst Vera Iaconelli. The sentence is the beginning of the answer to the question about how much we are being affected by distance work. And also a warning so that, before measuring the damage, people understand the gravity of the situation in which they are living. “The lack of understanding that we are missing important things in this new scenario and the simple acceptance of the problem have a high psychological cost”, continues Vera.
“Home office, in a reality without a pandemic, is a work structure that, among its greatest advantages, has flexible hours and freer traffic to receive friends for lunch or a happy hour outside. Things we definitely don’t do today.” The psychoanalyst also remembers that the original format provides for escapes and changes in plans in the middle of the day, which help the organism to understand that there is life outside of work. Thus we arrive at one of the great dilemmas of social isolation: dividing routines.
A global survey conducted by Oracle, in partnership with Workplace Intelligence, in October 2020, consulted 12,000 employees from 11 different countries. The objective was to point out the consequences of remote work and the main difficulties faced by professionals during the pandemic.
In the Brazilian sample, 44% of respondents say they feel pressure to meet performance standards, 39% say they have unpredictable workloads and 42% report working more than 40 overtime hours per month. Regarding the difficulty of separating domestic and professional life, the study found even higher numbers: 87% of Brazilians define the current format of telework as responsible for the difficulty in balancing daily functions, while 40% say they cannot separate the work and the particular routine. And yet: 61% claim greater difficulties in making decisions and 21% report cases of Burnout syndrome (state of emotional tension and stress caused by stressful working conditions).
The high percentages are justified by a stunning combination of factors: a planet in a public health pandemic, widespread financial instability, the need to reinvent protocols and working methods in a completely changed world, and still many people working at home for the first time. once in a lifetime, without any prior preparation. “The home office of today is completely different from what it was until 2019. I have always been a fan of a balanced routine, and I chose this method of work to keep up with my pace of life, to have flexibility. It worked really well five years ago”, says the specialist in digital marketing and author of the blog Adoro Home Office, founded in 2015, Marcia Breda. With the pandemic, however, the game turned. “Suddenly, I found myself working twice as many hours a day. As I couldn’t go out, I no longer went to Pilates, the gym, didn’t meet friends… I spent my extra time working”, he adds.
Published in May 2020, his most engaging post has a suggestive (and self-explanatory) title: “Five years of home office didn’t prepare me for this”. In one of the excerpts, she says: “Today, about seven weeks after the beginning of the isolation recommendation in Brazil, I realize that the strategies I suggest here may have helped, but there is no way they will make this a good experience for home office. Because the home office is not like that. Our life was not like that.”
What is the end of the day?
How then to make this internal organization? How to demarcate the boundaries between the different realities we are living in? Businesswoman and digital wellness communicator Karla Lopes emphasizes the importance of keeping the space with the characteristics of a home. “When we work from home, we end up confusing our personality with the persona used at work. The place loses its warmth”, he explains. Another consideration is availability – usually 24 to 7. “Don’t let people access you at any time. You are not your job, it cannot occupy your entire day”, he warns.
For Vera Iaconelli, what used to be a physical limit became very subjective, and people do not recognize (out of shame, intimidation or even lack of habit) that they need to preserve a space of privacy: “If I don’t understand that I have this right, then enter in this neoliberal pile of productivity in my private life, which thinks it’s impolite not to answer, which I have to answer, I’ll end up answering the message.” For this, however, it is necessary to think about the inverse process. “And never demand from your work partners something out of hours”, emphasizes the psychoanalyst.
Marcia says that, when she realized the overlapping of routines, she understood that she would need to reorganize and add new practices to her daily life – from then on, exclusively at home. “I did the entire basic script of the pandemic. I started following a well-organized skincare routine, learned how to bake bread, signed up for online courses, bought a video game. I knew I would need rituals,” he says. But as the pandemic lingered, when he turned one year at home, his productivity dropped. “And, of course, the created routine did not hold up.”
The situation is common to many home office professionals. Blame it on the lack of foresight of an end and the worsening of the crisis. “In the middle of last year, people started to organize themselves, with the feeling that in a little while everything would pass. And then another anniversary arrives, another work cycle, and we are still here”, says Vera. For her, suffering is very much associated with the issue of time. “I put up with this for so many hours, so many months. The lack of perspective disorganizes everything”, he adds.
To organize energies, review methods, give a new lease of life to another period with diffuse perspectives – and, definitely, learn to separate the home from the office – disconnection practices are fundamental. Márcia de Luca, expert in ayurveda, meditation and yoga, calls attention to a primary care: turning off electronic devices, which are closely related to the act of working, and favoring calming activities, such as reading, listening to music or establishing deep conversations.
A survey by SAP Consultoria, in partnership with the Brazilian Society of Telework and Teleactivity, among 554 companies, found that, of the companies that started to adopt telework in the pandemic, 72% plan to maintain the practice in some format in the future. This means that the rereading of routines is an urgent need for the emotional health that will accompany this new way of living.
“Have you noticed that we have very few non-screen hobbies?
As you can’t avoid them all, don’t exercise any
computer activity during your rest hours.”
“Avoid redundant news. With free time, we tend to
delve into the information. You already know that they are going to open a CPI.
You already know that the stepfather beat a child to death. So avoid seeing all the photos, reading the comments, the unfolding, the neighbor’s testimony.
This only increases stress and rarely adds relevant information.”
“Adopt leisure linked to fiction. Immerse yourself in a narrative, invest in a good book. It’s an important breath.”
“Keep in mind that rest is productive, yes. And one of the best forms of productivity. A tired mind does not produce.
When you rest, you gain energy for your body to work better.”
“The beginning of the working day is also an important moment in the psychological organization of the period. wake up later,
having breakfast, tidying the house, will also help you to avoid
the feeling that you are living at work.”
“Understand that your digestion process is definitive for the
well-being and reorganize your routine. So, never give up the three main meals, always prioritizing lunch, which, according to ayurveda, is the moment when our digestion power is at its highest.”
(Márcia de Luca)
“Ritualize daily habits. Perfuming the bath is an excellent technique. Tie a handful of herbs such as eucalyptus
or lavender, in the shower. The steam will give off the aroma and guarantee a relaxing effect. To create a complete mood, turn off the lights,
light a candle and put a nice playlist to play.”
“Don’t just relax at the end of the day. Several times a day, assume a posture with your spine very straight, sitting comfortably, and watch your breath, setting a rhythm: inhale in three strokes and take a break. Exhale in three strokes and take another break. Start practicing over a minute and gradually build up.”
(Márcia de Luca)
“At night, avoid staying on your cell phone until you fall asleep, dim the light, read a book, make some tea and turn on a diffuser with essential oil of lavender, bergamot or sweet orange, which help to slow down. You will send a message to his body that he can relax now.”