A Guide to Mental Health – WFH Edition
For years now, working from home has been a welcome change to those looking for flexible work. Research shows that allowing employees to work from home can have many benefits for both the company and the employee including increased productivity, declining turnover rates and greater overall satisfaction. Greater autonomy and control over their schedules make for happier employees.
While the pandemic has given way to more opportunities to work from home and allow for hybrid working conditions, the very nature of working from home can lead to people feeling isolated and disconnected. Research has shown that loneliness is one of the biggest challenges associated with working from home, as many Australians live alone and have limited resources to connect with others.
As much as many enjoy working at home, there is a mental toll taken after a long period away from the office. Just as you take care of your physical health, it’s important to care for your mental health and check-in with yourself.
Some common mental health side effects of working from home include:
- Feeling isolated or disconnected
- Being unable to ‘switch off’
- Trouble with motivation
- Feeling uncertain about your work
- Sleep problems
These are all common effects and are easily addressed with a few changes in your daily routine. Setting up a structure for your workday and creating boundaries between your work life and home life is a great way to start.
A large percentage of people like the freedom that comes with working from home, but deciding what you do within those work hours can have a large impact on how you feel.
Act as if you were going into the office for the day – getting up at a regular time and finishing at the same time each day and scheduling dedicated breaks (which can include walking or grabbing a coffee) helps with having a structured day. Implementing structure is the first step to set strong boundaries between the home and work life.
Having a space where you can work each day is essential to separating home and work. Avoiding your bedroom is ideal as studies show it can interfere with your sleep, especially if you struggle to switch it off at the end of the day. A routine can also minimise family intrusion throughout the day. Make sure you have an area where you can work that people know not to bother you in.
Scheduling regular phone calls with your co-workers and managers is a great idea for those feeling isolated. Given you don’t randomly encounter your colleagues while at home, you need to be more proactive in organising your dedicated meetings and social connections. This can help you maintain a healthy relationship with work, and remove the risk of feeling socially isolated. When you are connected with people you reduce your stress levels and stay more productive.
Be mindful that there is such a thing as over connecting – if you find yourself tackling every task because you are trying to keep busy, it’s going to burn you out. Learn how to say no. There is only so much you can do within a day so learn those limits and stick within them.
Turning off technology at the end of the workday can help you switch off. While technology is beneficial during the day, it can delay the switching off process if you are still reachable after you’ve clocked off. This is your chance to spend some quality time with your family and friends, not stress about work. Getting outside during breaks is another way to digitally detox during the day. Going for walks and getting some sun and fresh air to rejuvenate.
When you are detoxing – think about doing some physical exercise. Go for a long walk, a bike ride or do some yoga. Anything to get you moving and out of your workspace will help you disconnect. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help reduce anxiety levels and get those happy endorphins flowing.
Make sure if you are working from home you are doing the minimum to keep on top of your mental health before it gets on top of you. If you’re looking for more motivational content or how to stay on track while working from home – sign up for our newsletter. At A1 Office, we pride ourselves on the ability to transform work life – in all areas.