Working from home can be mentally challenging, especially when you first start to transition to it. Here are three things to remember to keep your mental health in check while working remotely.
The prevalence of loneliness is rising in today's workplaces. According to a study conducted by healthcare provider Cigna, three out of five Americans are feeling lonely, left out, poorly understood and lacking companionship. Mainly, their workplace culture and conditions are contributing factors to their loneliness.
So imagine being a remote worker, where most of the time, you will work on your own. From the same study, they found that remote workers are more likely than non-remote workers to always or sometimes feel alone. With that in mind, these remote workers are more likely to quit as a result of feeling lonely and disengaged. This is not only damaging to the company, but to the employee at hand, considering the fact that many studies show how isolation can be twice as harmful to one’s physical and mental health as obesity.
As more companies around the world offer work from home as an option to employees, how can an employee like yourself stay mentally healthy in this transition? Here are 3 crucial tips to help protect your mental health throughout the process:
Working remotely doesn't mean working alone. It’s equally as important, if not more so, to maintain strong friendships with your colleagues when you’re dispersed. With the right digital tools for you and your teammates, you can all alleviate the feeling of loneliness through instant chat messages, face-to-face video calls and dynamic discussion forums. It’s best to keep this top of mind as you work - jump on a call to discuss that project you’re stuck on, or start a survey to get suggestions, rather than tackle work issues alone. Actively reaching out will help you maintain that sense of community. With a variety of channels to socialize and connect through, you’ll feel connected to your teammates throughout the day even while you’re all dispersed.
It’s reported that 82% of remote tech workers in the U.S. are more likely to feel burnt out as compared to their counterparts who work in the office. This is because it’s tempting to start working earlier and end later than you normally would, since you are already at home. To tackle this, ensure that you still have a proper work-life balance in place. Even though you work from home, make sure that you start and end your work day as you would when you go to the office, and schedule breaks into your calendar just as you would do with a meeting. On top of that, use task management tools to easily track your to-do list and responsibilities day by day to help you stay organized.
With your work and your rest blending into the same space, you might feel the pressure to hustle 24/7 while working from home. However, this pressure can cause a quick build up in anxiety, stress and depression. So how can you be sure to mentally check out at the end of the day? A good tip is to avoid working from your bed during your work hours. Set up a dedicated workspace and keep your bedroom for relaxation only. Similarly, try to make a big switch in your activities once work is done - rather than switching tabs from working on a project to watching a video on Youtube, why not shut the laptop altogether and go for a walk outside. This mental switch will tell your brain and body that work is over. After these work hours, also be sure to adjust your notifications so that you can take a mental break from those messages. By properly switching off at the end of each day, you give yourself time to reset and continue tomorrow in an even more energized and productive state.
Remember, when done well, working from home can be great for your mental health: you work from the comfort of your own space, you cut the stress of the commute, and you free up more time and flexibility to maintain work-life balance. Just be sure to keep these tips top of mind to ensure you get the most out of these benefits and keep your mental health in check.
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