WorkShift, a future of work blog by Stadium

Remote Work Nerves? They’re a Thing

I recall the first time I was able to work remotely. I was excited about what it would look like. Working at a beautifully structured library with ornate architecture or parking myself at a new coffee shop? Remote work has been equally glamorized as it has been stigmatized. Though I was excited about the world of possibilities, the nerves started to seep in.  

What would remote work look like? Would it be lonely? Would it get old quickly? Would I be able to be as productive? Would it help or worsen anxiety? 

That’s when I quickly learned that remote work nerves were a thing. Transitioning from working solely in person to solely remote is a major change, but it’s often seen as a structural change, with not as much effort into the new challenges that occur. New challenges = aspects that can stir up anxiety. So, how do you nip the anxiety in the bud? Here are some tips to quell remote work anxiety: 

  1. Know your tech inside and out

A lot of anxiety stems from a level of uncertainty. Uncertainty about how smoothly your presentation will go, uncertainty about a certain program you may not be familiar with, and uncertainty about any technical issues that may surface. If you’ve ever had technical issues discombobulate things, then you know how easily a technical issue can make you flustered.

That’s where knowing your technology comes in. From watching YouTube videos to brush up on these skills to taking the time to ask coworkers questions about your technology questions, knowing your tech will make all the difference. The focus becomes shifts from the how-to to just focusing on getting your work done. It doesn’t require becoming an expert overnight, but rather, making sure you know how to do basic tasks. 

  1. Get comfortable with your background

One of the things I have learned while working remotely is the importance of truly refining your space. Although working remotely means you may be changing your work location frequently, getting comfortable with your background will boost confidence faster than you can say “Sorry, I was on mute.” 

Getting comfortable with your background means not only cleaning up your workspace but trying to find as quiet as possible space. If this isn’t a possibility, consider getting noise-canceling headphones. There’s nothing like the anxiety of hoping the background noise won’t take the spotlight during your next virtual presentation. 

Find your space to be too dimly lit? A ring light or desk lamp can be a great option. Find your space not cozy enough? Personalized trinkets like sculptures or collectibles can add personal flair. 

The fact of the matter is: if you feel uncomfortable in your space, it’ll translate over Zoom. 

  1. Practice makes perfect

The thing about nerves is that they can compile when we don’t actively try to quash them. Then, the buildup accumulates, and all of a sudden, tasks seem too daunting to tackle.

That’s why frequency is key when it comes to alleviating nerves. Practicing over Zoom with a coworker or friend can help you improve your presence on Zoom. If no one is available, then start a meeting with yourself and record it. Play it back and you’ll be able to note any improvements and see how you come across. 

This is especially helpful for remote job interviews. They’re a great way to practice answering interview questions. If you don’t have any job interviews scheduled, try recording a 3-5 minute video about yourself or present your portfolio as a starting point.

  1. Turn off gallery speaker mode 

If seeing a thumbnail of yourself speaking makes you nervous, there’s always an option to focus on other screens instead. So long as you’re sitting up straight and looking into the camera, it may be a good idea to turn off speaker mode and focus on other speakers instead. 

It’s also easier said than done but try to stop the fixation before it occurs. Take a deep breath, focus, and speak. No one is there to tear you apart, they just want to listen to what you have to say.

Think of remote work as an innovative new way to get your work done! By acknowledging the challenges that come with remote work, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to propel yourself forward!

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