Remote Work Behavior and Mental Health

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When the world went into lockdown at the beginning of the 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, many employees began working from home. While some of this was temporary, many are still working remotely more than a year after those initial lockdowns, and it does not seem like some will ever go back to a daily commute. 

Working from home can impact our behavior and mental health in various ways both negatively and positively. Let’s look at some of the ways that remote work can impact our well-being and what we can do about it. 

Working Flexibility and Burnout

Working from home allows us to be flexible about the way that we use our time. We do not have a daily commute to worry about and our time is somewhat freed. We also do not have to worry about someone monitoring the way that we complete work as long as we are working and completing the necessary work. 

It is important to note that this may have a negative impact on some individuals’ motivation levels. However, most people seem to have a positive experience with remote work despite some feeling more isolated. 

Without the daily commute, some people have opted to use that time to boost productivity. However, we also need to consider our work-life balance. Working too much can lead to burnout and poor mental health. Remote work can lead to poor motivation and a feeling of disconnect from work and both of those things are signs of burnout. 

Make sure that you do not jump into your work as soon as you wake up in the morning. You also need to try to finish working at a reasonable time. Take care of yourself by eating three nutritious meals each day and getting an adequate amount of restful sleep. 

Diminished Boundaries During Working

Working from home means that our work life invades our personal space. This can lead to burnout and anxiety. The boundary between our different personas has eroded. It is important to keep this boundary as much as possible while you are working remotely. 

When you are done for the day, avoid checking emails or taking on more tasks when you do not have the time in your week. Take the time before and after your workday to do things that you enjoy. Take a walk, spend time with the family, or read a book. These things can be greatly beneficial to your overall mental health and well-being and can help to create a boundary between your work and personal life. 

No Structure

For many people, working from home allows us to be flexible about our choices. However, that does not mean that we should forego all structure. Structures and schedules are important to stay productive and to allow our body and mind to know when it is time to work, sleep, relax, and eat. 

Set up a schedule so that you start working at the same time each day. You should always make sure to take a 30-minute lunch at the very least. Try to keep lunch at around the same time each day as well. Then, set a time that you will finish working each day. Once you finish work, put away all thoughts associated with your work and focus on yourself. 

It may also be beneficial to create a place where you can think about work that you do not use for anything else. This allows you to remain productive and only think about work while you are in that space but allows you to distance yourself from work at all other times. 

Isolation

Working from home can cause feelings of isolation because we are not around people like we would be if we were going into the workplace each and every day. It is important for us to interact with other people. Make sure to spend time with family and friends often so that we can get the social activity that we crave. 

Not being around co-workers may also impact productivity and creativity. When the only time that you speak to them is in Zoom meetings that can be boring and uneventful, it may seem that the team has lost its spark. Try to connect with your co-workers in positive ways like team building activities or even outside of work. This can build a support system and teamwork within your circle of co-workers that can help with motivation, productivity, and mental health. 

Therapy is an Option

Remember that therapy can be highly beneficial for work stress. If you feel like you are on a one-way track towards burnout or if you cannot figure out how to separate your work life from your personal life because you are working from home, a therapist may be able to help. 

Therapy can help us develop ways to manage our stress so that we can avoid burnout. It can also help us to develop positive, healthy behaviors and identify triggers for negative emotions. This can be a great first step for improving our overall welfare and livelihood. 

Conclusion

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Working from home can be great in many ways, but there are also several issues that people have noticed with their remote work habits. It can cause you to feel isolated or unmotivated. It can also impact our interaction with others. It is important to set up good boundaries and develop healthy habits for physical and mental health. 

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