Remote work has been around for many years, but since the pandemic began, more people have had to start working from home. Working from home has some mental health benefits but can be overwhelming sometimes.
On the positive side, working remotely cuts out stress levels found in the workplace and during the daily commute to work. However, several mental health challenges come with remote work. If you suspect you have mental health concerns, consult mental health services for professional help.
What are the negative effects of remote working?
Working from home can cause loneliness
The number of remote workers has expanded considerably since Covid- 19. Yet, this physical separation of coworkers has resulted in more individuals feeling like they don’t have friends at work. As a result, they are less loyal or engaged with their organization.
Loneliness has a negative effect on physical and mental health, as well as productivity, for many remote workers. Strengthening ties and encouraging social interactions between remote and co-located team members may help many employers and team leaders boost team cooperation through creating relationships.
Working from home often creates an inconsistent work environment
You might not have the best setup for working from home. Maybe you don’t have your own workspace, or your living environment isn’t conducive to phone calls and virtual meetings. Coffee shops are noisy and chaotic, and they do not promote productivity.
Separating your personal and professional lives can be challenging when working at home. Distractions and a drop in productivity might result from this irregularity. It might also increase stress and affect your mental health needs.
Working from home can cause mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
The increasingly blurred barrier between work and home life has negatively impacted most employee’s mental health, including burnout.
Employees that are burned out are frequently impatient and resentful toward their bosses or coworkers. They also feel useless and demotivated, as though they cannot do their tasks. Burnout causes anxiety, depression, and bodily signs such as headaches and insomnia.
How you can improve mental health while working from home?
Encourage work-life balance
Consider integrating time off into the project plan when faced with a project that requires a substantial amount of time and energy, for example. Presenting a huge project with time for self-care will help alleviate your team’s initial mental health problems.
Team leaders or supervisors should also take time to manage stress. One of the most effective strategies to combat team burnout is to model a good work-life balance and encourage your employees to do the same for their mental well-being.
Use available resources
It is essential to prioritize mental health and seek support when dealing with any form of mental illness. Thankfully, there are numerous free and paid resources available for individuals struggling with mental health issues.
Some of the most popular resources include counseling services, support groups, online forums, and therapy sessions. It is worth noting that most medical insurance plans cover mental health treatment, which could include therapy or counseling sessions.
Additionally, many non-profit organizations offer free or low-cost mental health services to individuals who cannot afford them. Therefore, it is crucial to take advantage of these resources and seek professional help when needed. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and taking care of your mental health should be a priority.
Minimize temptations to addictive substances
Working from home may seem like a dream come true for many, but it can also pose unique challenges when it comes to substance abuse. Work remotely is often isolating which can lead to feelings of loneliness, boredom, and stress.
Additionally, the lack of structure and routine that comes with working from home can make it harder to maintain healthy habits, such as regular exercise and good sleep hygiene. All of these factors can contribute to an increased risk of substance abuse, as people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the stresses of working from home.
With easy access to substances at home and the lack of accountability, people may be more prone to substance abuse. The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community faces unique challenges when it comes to substance use prevention.
Studies show that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to experience poverty, discrimination, and trauma, which can increase the risk of substance use. Despite these challenges, the BIPOC community often faces a lack of access to affordable and culturally relevant prevention and treatment services.
Additionally, there is a lack of representation and cultural competency among healthcare providers, which can lead to disparities in care. This underlines the importance of addressing substance use prevention in a culturally sensitive and inclusive way, and ensuring that the BIPOC community has access to the resources and support they need.
The following guides do a great job of addressing this key issue for People of Color *and* their allies:
- Live Another Day – Live Another Day believes in equal access to life-saving mental health and substance use resources. This website provides extensive information on the best resources available.
- Prevail Recovery Center – An abundant collection of mental health and substance use resources for Black LGBTQ+ people.
- Southeast Addiction Center – An abundant collection of mental health and substance use resources for Black men.
Provide flexible scheduling options
A fair balance of remote and on-site work is included in such a timetable. This will vary based on the nature of each business, but maintaining a natural habit requires developing a regular schedule.
Allow your workers to work flexible hours in some cases and instead focus on project deadlines as a metric. Employees will be able to accomplish the project at their own appropriate speed as a result of this.
Consider providing “summer hours” or “winter hours” to full-time on-site employees. Typically, these are times of the year when employees are permitted to leave work early on Fridays. Read more on this blog on tips to get your energy up during working hours.
Here are 7 tips for improving your mental health when working from a remote location.