How Working From Home Is Affecting Mental Health And Wellbeing

Introduction

It’s a new era for working, the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up our lives and left us to work out what works best. Whether you work from home or not, the pandemic has changed the way we function in the workplace forever.

How are you feeling about this new way of working? It’s no secret that we’re all feeling added pressure from work, 41.09% even stated that their anxiety levels are higher at home than in the office. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re not going to be back in the office anytime soon, so it’s good to be proactive about your mental health when working at home.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, many have had positive experiences working from home too. With no commuting, more time to relax, and time with loved ones, it’s no surprise that some of us want to continue working this way indefinitely.

Keep on reading to explore the positive and negative effects of working from home on your mental health.

What Are The Negative Impacts Of Working From Home?

If you’re struggling with remote work, don’t feel guilty – the majority of us are. There is a range of unique impacts of working from home that many of us were unprepared for. Here are some of the common negative impacts of remote work.

Extra Stress

Many report higher stress levels since working at home. With employers giving workers higher workloads and the office hours stretching into the night, it can sometimes feel like you don’t have time for anything else.

The lines between personal time and work time are blurred when working at home. Employers often expect you to spend more time on projects as you don’t have an excuse for being busy. Though you are at home, you still need separate time in the evenings and on weekends for yourself. It’s more important than ever that you refresh your brain and de-stress after a difficult week.

Tiredness

Another top complaint is tiredness and fatigue. When you’re working alone it’s difficult to boost your energy levels – especially if you’re sitting in one place all day. If you’ve been struggling to sleep since working from home, you’re not the only one!

Combine this with a larger workload, isolation, and general world stress and there’s no wonder we don’t want to get out of bed. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are on the rise and many are turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms to cope with the repetitiveness of work from home life too.

Lack Of Motivation

Similar to tiredness, lack of motivation is also a common impact of remote work. It’s difficult to concentrate on professional jobs when you’re sitting in your living room. Motivation may be especially hard if you have family or roommates also working from home, leaving you distracted and frustrated.

If you can, try to create a home office or dedicate one part of the home as your workstation. A designated space will help your brain distinguish which area is for work and which is for relaxing. This will improve your motivation and overall stress levels too.

Isolation

Feeling more lonely and isolated than usual? You’re not the only one. Lack of connection to others is one of the toughest challenges that come with remote work, leaving workers more susceptible to depression. Though you have emails and Zoom calls, these interactions don’t have the natural flow of an in-person conversation.

This impact is one of the main reasons workers want to get back to the office as soon as possible. You may experience more feelings of loneliness if you’re living alone, so make sure you’re being proactive and scheduling time to chat to friends and family throughout the day too.

Are There Physical Impacts?

Since working from home is causing us to experience a lot more stress, there are some physical side effects too. These include hormone changes, skin problems (such as acne and eczema), menstrual problems, stomach issues, heart disease, higher blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity too.

When you’re working from home you must make sure you’re looking after your mental and physical health. Small healthy habits are a great way to make a big long-term difference in your health, so be sure to stay on top of your healthy eating and exercise too.

What Are The Benefits Of Working From Home?

Though we’ve discussed a lot of negative impacts, there have been some positive impacts too. Some workers have had a positive experience when working from home. Once you have good coping mechanisms in place, remote work can be very pleasant!

More Time

If you haven’t been assigned more work to fill your extra hours, you’ve probably noticed that the extra time saved when you’re not commuting is enjoyable. Some workers had commute times of three to four hours, so working from home gives them nearly half a workday back!

This extra time is great for your general well-being. Not only do you get to spend extra hours with loved ones, but you can spend more time doing things you enjoy too. Many workers have started old hobbies again, spent more time exercising, and some like to relax before and after work!

If you’ve spent years of your life commuting, this new free time will feel revolutionary. Whether you invest it into goals or take time to live a more peaceful life, it’s always a good thing. This is one of the main reasons some workers don’t want to return to the office.

Commuting also has negative health impacts too, so stopping this daily journey benefits your physical health. Studies have shown long commutes caused higher blood pressure, obesity, and decreased sleep quality. They also meant workers were left feeling isolated as they attend fewer social events too.

Extra Productivity

Some of us may struggle with productivity when working from home, but others found that being at home helped them complete more tasks. With no office distractions, some workers were able to get down to the task at hand quicker and more efficiently. When work is going smoother, you’re always more likely to feel more at peace mentally.

This productivity boost also helps you in your personal life too! More time and productivity allowed some people to start side hustles, personal projects, and home renovations too. Of course, this extra time depends on the job you do – but for many working at home is great for increased work satisfaction.

Saving More Money

Money can be the cause of many stresses, especially when you’re spending money on travel, expensive lunches, and other work-related purchases. One of the main benefits of working from home was that it cost less! It’s amazing how much money it costs day-to-ay when you’re working from the office and cutting down on these expenses makes a big difference.

Some families even took the chance to move homes to a more affordable area. As working from home removed geographical limitations, you can now ditch your expensive city rent and move to a quieter area. This is ideal for those who are raising families and want a slower pace of life too.

Why Working From Home Is So Exhausting—And How To Reinvigorate

The Best Mental Health Tips

If you’re working from home and struggling with the negative impacts of the lifestyle, there are some tips to help you thrive. While remote work can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be!

Set Work Boundaries

One of the key steps you need to take when working from home is to set boundaries. A majority of the negative impacts from remote work come from your work life and personal life falling out of balance.

It’s common to need to work late now and then, but you shouldn’t be doing this daily or on weekends. If you often find yourself in a flurry of emails after office hours, try to stop replying unless it’s an urgent situation. If the email isn’t important, leave it in your inbox until the next morning. Not only will this leave you with more free time, but it will also give you mental clarity too.

Look After Your Body

Physical health leads to better mental health! With this in mind, you need to make sure you’re taking active steps to keep your physical health in check. From eating well to hydration, your body needs good fuel to perform mentally.

If you know you should eat better, try making a weekly meal plan to help you stay on track. Include a variety of dishes and take the time to prepare them. Fresh veggies are essential to a work lunch! If you don’t have enough time to cook during the day, you can try batch cooking a meal on the weekend. This will save you time in the week and it’ll stop you from reaching for junk food alternatives too!

Another way to look after your body is through exercise. Though it’s not everyone’s favorite activity, getting active is important for good mental and physical health. If you don’t like the idea of hitting the gym, try some home workouts or daily yoga. Even a quick 30-minute walk on your lunch break will have you feeling more energized.

Create A Home Office

If motivation is difficult for you at home, you can try to create a home office. When you dedicate a space that’s just for work, your brain will start to associate it with productivity. This is much healthier for your mind than living and working in the same space, as your brain will start to relax in other areas of your home.

Popular home office purchases include back support chairs, ergonomic keyboards, blue light glasses, and motivational posters too. When you decorate the office in your style you’ll feel more at ease there too – so have fun with it! Use websites like Pinterest to search for design inspiration and make your office an enjoyable side project.

Reach Out To Friends

Working from home can leave you feeling isolated and lonely, but there are some steps you can take to improve your daily life. If you can, try video calling family and friends as often as possible. This will give you that much-needed social interaction and it’ll also take your mind off of work – a win-win!

If you want to chat or vent about work, but don’t have any friends that can relate you should consider joining a forum or Facebook group. This is a great tip if you’re a freelancer too, as you can establish yourself in an online community of like-minded workers. Whether you want to get advice or just talk, it’s good to know others in your industry.

A Change Of Scenery

When you’re working from home, you don’t get a change of scenery and this is important for maintaining mental wellbeing. If you have time, go for a walk daily, this is great for your physical health plus it’ll help your mind decompress after a workday. Also, fresh air does wonders for your health too, especially after long periods inside. Walking in nature is a proven way to boost your mood and lower your anxiety levels.

Conclusion

Working from home does indeed have some negative effects on our mental health, but there are lots of positive aspects of remote work too. When you are proactive about your mental health and you take daily steps to mitigate your stress, working from home can be an enjoyable experience.

Make sure you try some of the mental health tips in this article to improve your daily routine. However, if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety always reach out to a professional for help if needed. There’s no shame in asking for help and professionals always want the best for you and your health.

Do you enjoy working from home? Let us know your best mental health tips in the comments.