Remote work has become a common practice over the past few years. Many businesses began embracing hybrid and remote working schedules for their employees. Even though most pandemic-related regulations have lifted, many businesses still offer their employees the option to work from home. On top of this, there have also been several companies that have started up over the years that are completely remote.
For some people, the option to work from home may be freeing and allow them to work in a schedule and location that works for them. But over the years, there has been an increase in the discussion about mental health in the workplace, and remote work has been a common topic of debate.
In a recent Forbes article, findings of a correlation between working from home and negative mental health impacts have been common over the past few years. Many people find that working from home increases their feelings of isolation and loneliness and makes it harder to get away from work once their workday is over.
Today we will talk about the mental health impacts of working from home and how you can cope with feelings of depression due to this remote working arrangement.
Impact of Working from Home on Mental Health
Like any other work arrangement, working from home has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages may serve to improve your mental health, while disadvantages may serve to worsen your mental health.
Some advantages of working from home can be increased time spent with loved ones, a commute-free workplace, increased opportunities for self-care, more flexibility in hours and working locations, and even increased free time.
However, it is important to note that not all people will benefit from all of these advantages. For example, some people may find it incredibly difficult to “turn off work” once their day is done and find themselves experiencing more stress, longer hours, and less time spent with their loved ones.
Some common disadvantages of working from home are too many opportunities to take breaks, lack of social interaction, and a feeling of lack of involvement in company decisions. These are all things that can leave us feeling stressed, isolated, and exhausted — which can have negative effects on our overall mental health.
Contributing Factors to WFH Depression
There is no saying for sure whether working from home leads automatically to depression. This is because not everyone will react the same way to this type of work schedule, and while some people may develop feelings of isolation and depression, others may find the working arrangement freeing.
This said, a number of factors commonly associated with working from home can increase your risk for depression or otherwise decrease your overall mental well-being.
According to a study done in 2021, working from home can lead to an increased number of distractions and interruptions during the workday, a decrease in physical activity paired with an increase in food consumption, and the increased need for multitasking during the day (like caring for children and working at the same time). In addition, many remote workers also saw an increased workload and longer working hours due to distractions and inability to easily separate from work after their day.
Tips for Coping with Remote Work Schedules
If you’ve begun to find working from home challenging, you may be wondering what you can do to lessen the amount of stress and anxiety you may be feeling.
Here we’re going to introduce just a few tips that you can incorporate into your schedule to help lessen feelings of work-from-home depression.
The first tip we have is to take breaks. Even when you are in an office, you are not working for a straight eight hours without rest. Your body needs time to rest and recover, or it will quickly grow tired and fail to function properly.
Try setting a timer for 45 minutes and taking a short break every time it goes off. This gives you a chance to relax and take a moment to see what your body needs. For example, do you need to take a lunch break? Stretch your legs? Use the restroom? Or do you need to simply allow your eyes to rest and not look at your computer screen for a few minutes?
Maintain Healthy Habits
Make sure you eat healthy and nutritious meals, maintain an effective work/life balance, and get movement in your day. All of these things can be crucial to maintaining a healthy and happy body — which leads to a healthy and happy mind.
Go for a Walk
As mentioned above, you are likely getting less movement in your daily life when you’re working from home. Walking can be a great way to get your body moving and stretch out your legs so that you don’t develop soreness from sitting around all day.
Engage in Social Activities
Working from home can get lonely, especially if you have a job that does not allow for that much social interaction — like meetings. So, if you’re not getting the social outlets you need from your work, it is doubly important to create social opportunities for yourself outside of work.
Maybe call a friend and chat, meet someone at a local coffee shop, take a class you’ve always wanted to, or just spend some time out on the town.
Create Regular Schedules
Humans are creatures of habit. We like schedules and patterns. They allow us to bring some semblance of reason and order to our often chaotic lives. So, make schedules where you can. Maybe you want to make a morning and evening routine that you do each day. Maybe you simply want to schedule what times you work, relax, and sleep.
Whatever your schedule is, take the time to think about what schedule best suits you and your life, and then enjoy sticking to that little piece of order you have created.
Seek Professional Help
If none of these tips are helping, or you’re simply looking for some more personalized guidance, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional. A therapist or counselor can be a great resource for working on your mental health and building routines and other healthy habits that can help you cope with working from home.
So, if you are feeling depressed about your working situation and are looking for some professional guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow.