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Managing Work-from-Home (WFH) Paranoia

The shift to remote work has almost entirely eliminated the social aspects of the on-site workplace, which makes it difficult for many employees to properly communicate with co-workers and managers. As a result, paranoia is common while working remotely.

Paranoia, itself, is a state of distrust, uncertainty or fear in which someone misinterprets an ambiguous situation in a negative way and feels some type of persecution. For example, paranoia while working remotely can be a result of misinterpreting a comment or action from a peer or superior.

WFH paranoia may be caused by a variety of factors, but it’s likely rooted in communication. Such situations include misinterpreted feedback, a lack of clarity in communication, or delays in email and chat responses.

Although people might deal with paranoia in different ways, there are some tactics that might help you alleviate it. Here are healthy ways to cope with WFH paranoia:

  • Eliminate the personal aspect. Try to view actions or comments as constructive and assume they are for the betterment of the workplace, not for your personal detriment.

  • Write down your anxieties. At the end of the workday, it is essential to step away from work tasks and focus on yourself and your mental health. As such, write down your anxieties throughout the day, do what you can to manage them and throw them in the trash at the end of the day.

  • Get ample rest. Make sure you’re getting proper sleep so you can complete your daily tasks effectively and energetically.

  • Make expectations known. If you expect an email response or feedback within a certain amount of time, clearly communicate that. Just ensure it’s an adequate amount of time for others as they navigate their own schedules.

  • Talk it out. If you’re feeling paranoid, talk about it with a close friend, family member or loved one so you can get it off your chest and out of your mind.

Taking care of WFH paranoia can be difficult, so openly discuss your concerns with your manager if you have them. If it’s still tough to manage your paranoia, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

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