The importance of mental health when working from home

Aneta Pałczyńska
26 May 2020
5 min read

2020 has been, so far, a challenging year for many. The last two months have been the hardest for professionals throughout the world. One day you were sitting comfortably in an office chair. The next day, you received the news that, as of today, your home is your workplace. Working from home can feel like an incredibly overwhelming challenge to tackle. 

While some were happy about that change (if it did change anything at all), others find it challenging to adjust to it. Working from home requires a different set of skills, having specific equipment, and proper working conditions. But whatever your situation is, there are some ways to keep your work in check and reduce stress and anxiety.

The challenges of working from home

Even though Global Workplace Analytics states that between 2005 and 2017, we have seen a 159% increase in remote work, what happened in March left us entirely unprepared. Almost anybody that wasn't considered an essential worker found himself facing a new reality, and one that is full of obstacles at that.

Social isolation

It is week 4 of you working remotely in the seclusion provided by your house. All the high spirits you started working with have left you by now. There is nobody to digress with, nobody to cheer you up or ask how was your evening the day before.

Loneliness in remote workers was one of the main concerns of 21% of respondents in the 2018 Buffer survey. Lack of human interaction can cause a problematic deterioration of mental health. It leads to anxieties, increases your stress levels, and might result in depression if not addressed in time.

Pressure and anxiety

Remember all these motivational quotes and infographics about embracing the current situation into an opportunity to learn and find yourself? It got you pumped for a while. You enrolled in a course, practiced a forgotten hobby, and ended up anxious because your life didn't look like the lives of people on social media. Everybody was about taking advantage of this period, but the truth is that most of us were left feeling frustrated. And that’s ok.

Distractions

Work from home can be a bliss, but also a curse. Till some time ago, it was your little personal paradise to unwind or spend time with your loved ones. Now you are trapped inside it, with every little thing fighting for a chance to disrupt your day. Or you need to juggle between commitments like homework or childcare. Breathe, acknowledge these distractions, and find the solutions that work for you.

A decrease in motivation and productivity

In the office, you knew how much you wanted to achieve in one day and did it. Now you have to stay a little bit later and still can't finish all that you had planned. The 'always-on' mentality takes its toll by coding in our minds that we have to remain at the same level of productivity and availability. It is great to be aware of what you're doing, but remember to cut yourself some slack. Just by trying hard, you are already doing a marvelous job!

Healthy tricks for working from home…

From things like time management to protecting mental health, there are tools for happier remote workers:

  • Think of a workday routine just for you. Remember that this situation may last! Inspire yourself with how others organize themselves but adapt their habits to your personality and needs.

  • Even if you don't have another room for your office, try to set a designated spot for working and remember to clear it after you finish. This way, you can mentally cut off from thinking about your job.

  • Be sure not to exhaust yourself by working 14 hours a day. Set some time boundaries like a standard 8-hour workday, or segment your work time into blocks and dedicate each block to a specific project or task. Make sure you have all the tools for working remotely.

  • Start your day by writing down three tasks you want to achieve that day and prioritize them. It will save you energy from jumping from one task to another.

  • Get outside before or during work! Get a shot of endorphins from working out, or grab some fresh air to stimulate your mental balance. Your attention span will increase. It's an excellent way to prepare for work or get a boost of energy during the day.

  • Stay connected with the people you love. Call them, text them, ask them about their day. Now is the time to let people know how much you appreciate them.

  • If you lack motivation, try setting up daily check-in meetings. It's a good opportunity for keeping team spirit up, and you won't feel so lonely if you see familiar faces every day

  • Pick your work uniform. Let it be comfortable, but not too cozy, presentable, but not stiff. Lay it out before going to bed the day before so you can jump into it before your first meeting.

  • To sustain positivity among coworkers, try to introduce virtual coffee breaks during the day. You can enjoy some small talks just like if you were in the office kitchenette.

…and treats for handling remote work like a champion

Your current workplace is also your home. As such, it should feel welcoming, safe, and relaxing. Don't stress yourself up by comparing yourself to others. Acknowledge your own needs. Decide on the best course of action for you. Just don't overdo it: it is ok not to feel ok!

  • Try practicing gratitude. It will allow you to have a look at your life from a different angle. It shows you how little things can bring a smile.

  • Get moving! Be it a morning yoga session, a goofy dance after work, or a stroll before lunch: your body was engineered by mother nature to move. It's one of the best tricks to keep your mind healthy.

  • Surround yourself with encouraging, like-minded individuals who will spread positivity and keep you in high spirits.

  • Take care of your mental health with some mindfulness, meditation, or by keeping a simple journal. It helps you to stay in touch with yourself.

  • Make time for your loved ones and friends, try to be understanding, and don't judge them. Everybody is affected differently, so be a beam of positivity.

  • Practice self-care by pampering yourself. Relax your tense muscles with a bit of stretching, have a hot bath, or implement some beauty routines.

  • To pamper your mind, take some online classes or courses, discover new museums, or listen to opera streaming! One of the good things about this world crisis is the availability of online resources.

  • And most importantly… Slow down. Spin around and admire your surroundings. Listen to your body. Discover new cracks on your ceiling, read a poem to your plant, and fall in love with your voice. Be present, don't rush anywhere and…

Remember: You are doing great. We are proud of you.

Do you want to know more about the best tools to use for working remotely or how to manage remote teams? We’re around!

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