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

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 workshops to address mental health issues.
  • Support a person having issues like depression, stress and anxiety.
  • Encourage time off from work to recharge, and utilizing sick days for mental health.
  • Daily mindfulness activities.
  • Go out in a community for some social time together among coworkers.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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

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

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

doist.com

4

Key Ideas

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 strong community building does not have any shortcuts. People with strong social ties in a singular place live longer, healthier and happier lives.

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 friends. 
  • Many nomads have false assumptions about an office activity or event, and not being able to see your coworkers in person every day, leads to being ‘out of touch’.
  • Constant working in isolation leads to irregular sleep patterns, mood swings and eating disorders due to a lack of routine and structure in a day.

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 engagement and satisfaction in one’s job.

For remote working to be successful, it needs to be tailored to suit one’s particular needs and personality, finding a good fit, while taking care of one’s mental well-being.

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 workshops to address mental health issues.
  • Support a person having issues like depression, stress and anxiety.
  • Encourage time off from work to recharge, and utilizing sick days for mental health.
  • Daily mindfulness activities.
  • Go out in a community for some social time together among coworkers.

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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.

Digital Nomad

The idea of working from home, on your laptop, flexibly, without having to do the daily commute, is appealing to many office workers.
In the UK there are 4.8 million freelance wo...

The Other Side

Studies on long term work-from-home workers found that lack of interaction with colleagues and the lack of an office vibe can result in a disconnection from the outer world, leading to isolation.

Working at Home

Pitfalls of working from home: 

  • Mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Feeling isolated
  • Less self-discipline
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unable to keep the boundaries between work and life.

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