The Mental Health Impact of Working from Home
Over the past year-plus, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have worked remotely at some point. Working from home has its pros and cons, and today we’re exploring the impact that it can have on your mental health. As you plan for your career moving forward, consider these benefits and drawbacks when deciding how a work-from-home or hybrid schedule will affect you and your family.
Adapting to a Work-from-Home Lifestyle
For a large amount of the country, working from home was not the norm before the pandemic. Rather than being given the choice to work remotely, workers were forced into it amidst the social isolation of quarantine, many without much notice to acquire proper supports and while also caring for children at home or aging loved ones from afar. If you are choosing to continue with a work-from-home schedule, try working with your employer to acquire adequate technology, and set up a designated home office area for success moving forward.
Working from Home in Isolation
Remote work can be isolating even in the best of times, and with the pandemic keeping us away from even close family and friends, some people (especially extroverts) may have found working from home to be too difficult. In order to reduce isolation in a work-from-home lifestyle, try to keep in regular communication with your coworkers via video meetings, email/text and business communication platforms like Slack, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams. You can also find more social interaction by getting involved in your community as it is safe to do so, by attending or volunteering for events like those offered by Healthy365 and Hancock Regional.
Offering More Time for Wellness
As we find our “new normal” in work-from-home situations, you may be enjoying the flexibility they can offer. The flexibility of remote work can reduce stress for many individuals, thanks to a reduced commute, increased productivity, lessened office politics and more. Working from home can also offer more time for wellness, giving people time to work out during the day, schedule a counseling appointment or just more options for mental health breaks. However, there are also different stressors that may come up when working from home, such as finding childcare or maintaining a work-life balance.
Managing Work-Life Balance
Keeping a proper balance between your home life and work can sometimes be more difficult when working remotely. If you don’t have a home office, it can be hard to mentally “unplug” for the day when you see your work computer or papers all over the dining room table. And on the other end of the spectrum, it may be distracting to get work done when you see a sink full of dishes or piled-up laundry that needs washing. With the help of time blocking and designated “work zones,” you may find it easier to focus on the appropriate part of your day at the appropriate time.
Giving More Opportunities to Disadvantaged
One of the unexpected benefits of the pandemic has been the increase in accessibility to those with disabilities. Working from home offers a more conducive lifestyle to many with physical disabilities who may have a hard time leaving the house, or to people with mental disabilities for whom an office is not an ideal workspace. It also gives more job opportunities to those who live in rural or economically struggling areas. According to Next Avenue, higher rates of depression and anxiety are found in rural and low-economic areas where jobs are more difficult to find.
Is Working from Home Right for You?
Ultimately, working from home works great for some people and not as much for others. If you think it is the right fit for you but are unsure how your employer will feel about it, there are many resources out there with advice on how to ask your boss to work from home. If possible, try to do what works best for you and your family, be it working remotely, full-time in the office or a hybrid option that incorporates both.
And if you find that you are in need of mental health support while you determine the best career option for you, Healthy365 is here to help! Our Support Navigators can help connect you with resources to help you live your best life; call 317-468-4231 today to learn more.