Remote work is an ideal setup for many people working eight hours a day, five days a week. It helps them accomplish tasks that they are paid to do without going beyond the four corners of the home office. However, remote work, like all good things, has its downsides. As per a recent BBC article, the isolated nature of this working style is far from optimal for overthinkers. Why? There’s a high degree of ambiguity in remote communications, creating uncertainty among this personality type.
But … such uncertainty does not only affect people who are overthinkers by default. Could our reliance on screen communication, for example, be turning us all into overthinkers? Here are a few reasons why this could be the case:
- Misunderstandings can easily occur during online exchanges.It’s very difficult to see through the nuances of impersonal feedback. This may make us uneasy.
- There is no way to read body language online. This is especially true in text-based conversations like email correspondence. When we’re only looking at a one-dimensional message, it may be hard to read its tone or mood, leading to overanalysis that often ends in overthinking and misunderstandings.
- Working alone can make us anxious. Without social interaction, we become less confident in interactions with our colleagues. For example, we might think that our boss does not care about what we’re up to, or our teammate has left us to fend for ourselves when they’re simply too busy to respond immediately.
Ways to stop overthinking when working remotely
Of course, we can’t just let ourselves succumb to overthinking. It is not great for mental health, and we want to keep our focus on our work and not on things that we might only be imagining. Here are some tips.
- Look at the situation objectively. When you’re starting to get anxious, be sure to take a break, take a deep breath and calmly look at the situation. Write down your fears and doubts, consider all the possibilities and assess the situation to see if they have any realistic grounds or if it’s just you overthinking things.
- Regularly check in with your bosses, colleagues, or team members. Set some time to talk to them via phone or video call – anything more contextual than a text-based exchange. Maybe invite them to a weekend coffee if you live in the same area. This will help you better read their mood, eliminating misunderstandings and reducing negative, anxiety-inducing thoughts.
- Communicate more frequently and more heartily. Talking in a business-like way does not work within the confines of the business itself. Send less ambiguous messages that actually convey your mood. You can use emojis, clever memes, or even video or audio messages. If you are leading a team, be sure to encourage your people to do likewise. This should result in a less stressful and more honest virtual work environment that discourages overthinking.