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Mental Health & Remote Work: Acknowledging the Dark Side of Remote Work

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https://doist.com/blog/remote-work-mental-health/

doist.com

Mental Health & Remote Work: Acknowledging the Dark Side of Remote Work
Articles about the remote work lifestyle have tended to focus on drinking piña coladas on the beach, traveling the world, and otherwise enjoying a life that inspires envy in your social media following.This is not one of those articles.

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Remote Working

Remote working is not all glamorous as portrayed in social media, and many remote workers, while being free to roam around, are lonely.

Human beings cannot belong anywhere instantly, and a s...

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Nomads

  • We assume living alone provides us with freedom and independence, but the ground reality is quite different. Nomads, while staying and working alone, meet new people, but don’t make any real ...

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A Healthy Balance

Remote working may have tremendous advantages but research suggests that human beings aren’t meant to work in isolation. Working socially with co-workers who are good friends leads to higher...

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Overcoming Challenges

Remote work poses some unique mental challenges. To overcome them:

  • Acknowledge the mental health issues of remote workers.
  • Have an open conversation and...

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Asynchronous communication

There are mainly two ways to communicate within a company: synchronous and asynchronous communication. While the second type has always been widely practiced, as face-to-face meetings or any other ...

Real-time communication drawbacks

While real-time communication inside of a team might lead to solving faster some issues, it also has various disadvantages. 

For instance, having your colleagues come to ask you questions to which you feel pressured to answer on the spot leads to you being continuously interrupted, which results in being less productive and feeling stressed or even getting a burnout, as you try to do everything in proper time.

The asynchronous workplace

When the employees are provided with control as to when they are willing to communicate with their co-workers, there are many advantages that emerge. 

For instance, having the freedom to decide exactly how your working day should look like leads to more satisfied employees as well as to better communication within the team. Further benefits vary from feeling less stressed due to better planning to greater transparency and more efficient work.

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Early times

Before the Industrial revolution, everyone worked out of their home and sold their goods from there. With the Industrial Revolution came the need for automation and factories, and employ...

From factories to cubicles to WiFi

Just after WW2, there was a rise in corporate headquarters and larger office spaces and cubicles. During this time, the 8-hour workday was established.

Then came the advancements in computers and technology that lead to remote workers of today. The internet and public WiFi allowed employees to do everything they would in their cubicle, but outside the office. They can also work all hours of the day.

Remote work is common

4.3 million people currently work from home in the United States at least half of the time, and this figure has grown by 150% in the last 13 years.  

Remote workers tend to have higher engagement rates and higher productivity levels. Once they switch to remote work, they rarely want to become office bound again.

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Psychological Effects of Working from Home

  • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
  • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...

Symptoms of Depression

  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
  • Increased cravings for food.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Avoiding people.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

...while working from home:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
  • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
  • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
  • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
  • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.