Aside from dealing with the work stress and everything happening around, remote workers now must be ready to work in isolation. They are also required to be ready for the camera for video meetings besides navigating a hectic schedule. Juggling a busy life to find a balance takes a toll on the mental health of digital workers. 

Some of the common health issues include anxiety, loneliness, and depression. These mental illnesses make it hard for remote workers to shut down completely. Working from home can potentially sever all social ties, exacerbating the situation. Furthermore, not celebrating career achievements and milestones, which is the hallmark of traditional work, can manifest itself in depressive symptoms. 

Man unhappy while working from home

1. Workspace organization 

An often underestimated factor in increasing productivity is the proper maintenance of computers. Spending some time decluttering your computer can speed up the device and save you more time in the long run. Remote workers who are working on macOS should declutter the Mac regularly. A clean working device will help you finish your tasks faster and have a positive effect on mental health. 

Besides your space and computer, you should also keep your daily routine organized. Prepare a list of to-do things daily because it can destress you and make you feel on top and in control. Use practical items that you find around the house, such as shoe boxes, to keep important papers. A small filing cabinet in your workspace can also be great. 

2. Dress up 

It is very tempting as a remote worker to work in your PJs all day long. However, avoiding that temptation would be in your best interest. Get dressed as if you are going to work in the office. Getting dressed can increase productivity and reduce stress by setting the right tone for the rest of the day. 

Working from home can make you spend time in bed or on the couch, and you’ll soon lose the motivation to change into your office work. However, by getting dressed, you are more likely to get things going to complete the tasks for the day. Being productive can contribute to your feel-good factor and keep you sane. 

3. Noise level 

Remote workers who prefer to work quietly should set up the office in a place that is noise-free or use noise-canceling earbuds. Noise pollution has been linked to depression, anxiety, blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Even small disturbances in the ambient noise level can have significant mental health issues. 

On the other hand, remote workers who prefer to work under noisy conditions should use playlists that mimic various noise levels. Music can also have a soothing effect on mental health conditions. It helps in processing emotions, grief, and trauma. Music calms or regulates mood dysregulation and anxiety. 

Woman working at home on laptop

4. Natural light 

Unusual times, especially brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, have forced remote workers to work from home. This phenomenon has given rise to many unique work-from-home jobs. Make sure to have enough natural light in your home office set up, as it can help you feel alert and awake throughout the day. 

Remote workers are forced to work on digital devices a lot, which can strain their eyes and cause long-term damage. Natural light helps decrease eye strain and increase productivity, leading to better mental health outcomes. Daylight exposure can also improve the quality of sleep, which is essential for a stable mind. 

5. Smell good 

Scents are tied to the brain part that is linked to emotion and memory. As such, it is an important component of interaction. They can evoke different memories and responses. Consider the following scents depending on your personal preferences and mood swings. 

  • Cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint can help you prolong your attention span by increasing motor nerve response, fighting fatigue, and enhancing memory. 
  • Coffee scent can help with solving problems by enhancing analysis and reasoning. 
  • Lavender is great for improving and recharging concentration when you are deprived of sleep due to workload.
  • Citrus and lemon can improve the performance of your work by increasing alertness and opening the senses. 

6. Routine establishment 

Just as traditional workplaces function on conventional schedules, remote workers, too, must find their convenient daily routine. Start by waking up in the morning at the same time every day. Plan out regular breaks for meals and coffee as if you are working in an office setup. Fix a regular time for video calls. 

Coordinate with your remote colleagues the time you would be available online on your computer but give yourself some rest now and then for your mental health. This way, you can establish a routine and get some semblance of ordinary office life. It can also set boundaries as to when the workday end arrives. 

Man talking in microphone on a zoom call while wfh

7. Maintain connections 

If your remote work permits opportunities to maintain connections with your coworkers through a platform, utilize it so that you can maintain a level of communication. Remote workers can feel isolated, and this perception can cause mental distress that can affect their normal functioning. 

If your online job does not involve interaction, connect with family and friends after hours or join a virtual group to prevent you from feeling isolated and alone. If you have a busy mall nearby, occasionally visiting the mall can make you feel connected. Seeing people can perk you up. 

Conclusion

Forward-thinking employers now offer mental health care to their remote employees more than ever before. The pandemic has sensitized people to the risks involved in working in isolation. Its implication for mental health is not lost on company leaders.

However, the stigma attached to mental issues still exists, making it harder for virtual employees to openly talk about it, be it to their friends or families. If you are a remote worker, practicing the above steps can help even if you do not have a mental issue.