Some people struggle with the irregularity that comes with a hybrid work schedule. Getting up, going into the office and then returning home at the same time each day provided structure. On the other hand, not “getting into a daily life rhythm is stressful for people,” Bennett said.
The pressure can also come from employers who mistakenly try to replicate in-office policies and procedures with their hybrid workforce. Online meetings, Bennett noted, are a great example. While there’s nothing wrong with virtual meetings, a full day of team building Zoom or Teams encounters can be exhaustive and counterproductive.
“Zoom fatigue is a real thing,” she said. “Plus, people tend to engage in more self-monitoring when they are looking at themselves on screens, meaning they become very self-conscious about what they look like, and that can also be distracting and draining.”
Then there’s a host of ergonomic issues that arise when remote workers spend hours in poorly designed workspaces. Hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder and back pains, as well as headaches, are some of the most common complaints occupational therapists address among people working from home, said Monica Van Niel, an occupational therapist and clinical specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.
“Many people are still just making do, improvising, with remote workstations,” Van Niel said. She asked one client to take a picture of his home workspace “and it was a terrible setup. I know he’s not the only one.”