When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many people had to switch from working in an office environment to working remotely from home. While for some this change was temporary, more people are continuing to work from home due to employment changes or for their own safety. While working from home certainly has its enjoyable advantages, it can also bring about challenges and can take a toll on one’s mental health. It’s important to be able to recognize how working from home is affecting you mentally and know how to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy work environment from home.
How Working From Home Can Take a Toll on Mental Health
While working from home can affect everyone differently, there are some common ways that people have reported remote work has impacted their mental health.
#1.) Working from home can cause some people to experience a sense of isolation. When they are not going to work every day, they are not getting the same regular socialization that they once did. While they may still be communicating with their coworkers virtually through email, phone, or Zoom meetings, it won’t be the same quality, face-to-face connection. For us humans, socialization is vital to our mental well-being. Especially for people who work remotely while living alone, the isolation can lead to a deep sense of loneliness. In time, this sense of loneliness can lead to even more dangerous problems like anxiety and depression.
#2.) When you are working and living in the same place, it can be hard to separate work time from personal time. For some, this means constantly feeling like they should be working even when they have concluded their responsibilities for the day and should be resting. They may find themselves responding to emails late at night or having a hard time pulling themselves away from work. Other people may experience the complete opposite problem and find that they struggle to focus when they are working at a place where they are usually resting and relaxing. They may find themselves bombarded with the distractions that exist at home such as the television, social media, and family members or roommates. Without their boss checking over their shoulder, they may experience a sharp decrease in productivity.
#3.) Another issue that some people may experience while working from home is burnout. This can be a result of difficulty adjusting to remote employment, frustration over confusion regarding remote communication with team members, or trouble staying focused and productive. The difficulty of this adjustment can be too much for some, causing them to consider seeking a different kind of employment.
Adjusting to Remote Work
If you’re feeling unmotivated or struggling to adjust to remote work, there are some steps that you can take to make the transition easier.
#1.) Make sure that your day has structure. Without needing to be physically present at work each day, it can be tempting to sleep in extra late, take long breaks and finish your workday early. To avoid this, it is important to try to keep the same schedule each day. This involves waking up at the same time each day, taking breaks at set times, and finishing the workday at the same time.
#2.) If possible, consider conducting work in a different room in the house than one that is meant for relaxation. This means avoiding doing work in bed or on the couch. This will create a better separation between work and personal time.
#3.) Make sure that taking care of yourself and give yourself breaks throughout the day. This includes time for lunch, restroom breaks, and time to get up and stretch if necessary. This can help avoid burnout.
#4.) Make an effort to stay connected with family and friends, especially if you live alone. If this isn’t something that you can do in person, consider setting up regular Zoom calls. This can help combat loneliness and feelings of isolation.
#5.) Check in regularly with your boss and team members, even if it’s not required. In a typical office setting, you can simply walk down the hall to ask a coworker if you have a question about something you’re working on. However, when working remotely it is easy for communication to fall by the wayside. By checking in regularly, you can ensure you’re on track and on the same page as everyone else.
#6.) Be sure to take care of yourself. Exercising regularly and eating nutritious meals can help protect your mental health.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are now working from home for the foreseeable future. While this may be working out well for some, others have struggled to make the transition and have suffered mental health consequences as a result. Some of the main problems people have been experiencing are isolation and burnout, both of which can lead to anxiety or depression. Others may struggle to find a balance between work and their personal lives. If this is your situation, there are some steps you can take to make the adjustment a little easier. Make sure that your day has structure, take breaks when you need them, and stay connected with friends and family. Remember that taking care of your physical health will boost your mental health as well. If you’re struggling with your mental health, our team at Achieve Concierge can help. Call (619) 393-5871 today to learn more.