While the novel coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for the growing work-from-home trend and remote workers are utilized by companies seeking to continue operations amid the crisis, it may not be a positive move for workers' mental health.
Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, with a body of work on working from home and its benefits, conducted a two-year study on a major Chineses travel company. There he found that working from home made employees more productive and less likely to quit. Now that more people across the globe became remote workers by default due to the quarantine period, Bloom is less optimistic about the inundation.
He said with COVID-19, there is no choice and that everyone is being forced to work from home.
According to Dr. Amy Cirbus, Ph.D., LMHC, LPC, and Manager of Clinical Quality at Talkspace, " Remote workers often experience symptoms of anxiety and depression at a higher rate than people commuting into traditional office spaces. Specifically, they report feelings of isolation and loneliness and high rates of worry about job performance and stability."
Different forms of isolation include development isolation, resource isolation, and opportunity isolation. An office to show up to means opportunities for regular social interaction and connection with co-workers.
Taking the leap and deciding to start working from home can sound like an actual dream come true for most people; no more commuting woes and drama of office politics (and the comfort of being able to work in your pajamas). But there are several ways that telecommuting can hinder your overall mental health.
Aside from impacting your mental health, working from home affects your overall morale and quality of work. For some people, the immediate feedback from a work environment is critical to their jobs.
According to Jane Scudder, a certified personal development and career transition coach, you might also experience increased anxiety or stress because working remotely creates a unique pressure to seem like a busybody.
Research revealed that being "always-on" and accessible by technology while working at home leads to blurring the lines between work and non-work boundaries.
There is a tendency to focus solely on tasks and too little on relationships.
But it is possible to shrug off the loneliness, anxiety, and depression many remote workers face.
First, start by honoring your mental state. Second, it is in your power to enjoy a happy brain by making a few adjustments.
Organize your tasks and outline your goals to mentally prepare yourself for what to expect during the day.
Stay connected with people that you care about by making use of social media, messaging platforms, and social games. Reach out to other remote workers and set up a remote office phone system as they may also need the same interaction.
It is more straightforward than it sounds, but draw a line between work and home. Make sure you have a designated area where you do work, and nothing else. Then take regular breaks.