When it comes to work, many of us can come across moments of feeling bummed or excited about working remotely. Beyond that, we’re here to help you identify some ways in which working from home can be either beneficial or a bummer for your mental health.
Let’s take a look at the cons to working from home and where negative impact might show up when it comes to your mental health and wellness.
For starters, working from home means not being around your co-workers, staff, or supervisors, it’s basically like being physically estranged from your work family. If you’re an extrovert like me, you’re probably really feeling this loss by now or maybe since day one. Connecting with co-workers can provide a sense of belonging and enjoyment in our work but also brings depth, levity, support and encouragement throughout our day. Think about it for a minute, how often have you shared a laugh at the proverbial water cooler or an all knowing glance across a conference table. When we are working remotely, we are much more dependent upon the tone of texts or emails and even our telephone emojis to express how we are feeling. Gone are the days of subtle interactions that create inside jokes you just had to be there to get. Is anyone else getting bummed out!?! This separation and distance can begin to feel like isolation and become depressing impacting the quality of our work and our overall health.
Another important factor to keep in mind when working from home is that you’re probably not moving around as much as you did when you had an office to go to. I know our team has been discussing the difficulties of just remembering to stand up! Anyone struggling with this? When we are required to go into the office we have to wake up and get ready, maybe take a flight or so of stairs once we get there and of course there’s all of the steps we take to and from that “water cooler” aka our work bestie’s desk. So it’s important to be mindful and aware that being at home may put you in a position of being more sluggish and engage in low self-care because you are in a comfortable space!
For some, remote work and lifestyle may feel like an improvement and may even be preferred. Many introverts and people with social anxiety for example have been living their best life while sheltering-in-place. Relief from the types of social interactions that would otherwise cause discomfort is only one of the possible benefits to working remotely.
Some of these benefits have specific mental health benefits. Working remotely means no traffic jams, HOORAY! No traffic definitely means less stress for most of us. Honking, being cut off, and rushing to be on time, are things of the past (at least for now) and we’re not missing any of it. Another benefit of working remotely from home is that we have a bit more time to ourselves. This time may show up in an extra hour of sleep, time to exercise, actually eating breakfast, or more time to connect with loved ones; all of these things can benefit our mental health. To start, sleep is a basic necessity that can make or break our mood, ability to focus and can also increase symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychosis. Similarly, exercise can provide a boost to our mood while at the same time, helping us to build a sense of accomplishment. Most of us were young children when we first heard about the importance of eating breakfast and despite this, most of us have done a worse and worse job of actually prioritizing breakfast. If this is true for you, whether you are working from home or going into the office, try to grab a bite to eat within the first couple of hours of your day. Even a piece of fruit or toast can make a positive impact.
No matter where we are with our work (home or in the office) we need to be mindful of how we are doing mentally and physically. We’d like to encourage everyone to be intentional about finding a healthy balance whether you are working from home or in the office.