Today’s tech innovations made many things possible, including working from home. Many companies offer their employees the ability to work from the comforts of their homes. Data showed that up to 77% of employees report being more productive while working remotely. They enjoy the flexibility that remote work has to offer. They can enjoy a better work-life balance all because they get to have more time to spend on their personal life.
But then, there are numerous claims of remote work contributing negatively to one’s mental health. Experts say social isolation and burnout are so common in people working from home. This is especially true for those workers who are so accustomed to a traditional office setting.
Isolation When Working Remotely
People who work from home have no boss or colleagues they can turn to whenever they need help. One may perfectly function without being in the same room as their boss or workmates. But knowing there is always someone from work that you can easily come up to, ask your questions, share your ideas, and simply hang out with during break time is always good for your mental health.
Don’t forget that people working from home often require a distraction-free space where they can focus on their jobs. This can mean locking yourself in your make-shift home office while your family or roommates get to spend time together and have fun. When your daily interactions with other people no longer used to be like before, this can easily make you feel lonely.
Research shows that loneliness and isolation can be twice as harmful to both mental and physical health compared to obesity. This is especially true if you work from home and you live alone. With the pandemic encouraging people to stay indoors more often, loneliness and isolation due to remote work only exacerbated one’s loneliness.
According to a July 2020 survey, up to 40$ of remote workers feel burned out. They feel like they are working longer hours than they did while still working in the office. With the pandemic prompting their employers to make them work from home, they feel more stressed with all the distractions at home and their new work setup.
Some remote workers have kids who also had to stay at home while learning. With the kids home 24/7, balancing your time for household chores, childcare, and your remote job can be extremely stressful. Juggling such responsibilities can be overwhelming and stressful.
We already know that stress can easily manifest physical symptoms. They can be in the form of a headache, body pain, exhaustion, dizziness, and a digestive problem. Without proper management of symptoms, your mental health suffers along with your physical health.
Addressing Social Isolation and Burnout in Remote Workers
The good news is, there are ways remote workers can stop isolation and burnout from ruining their mental health. It will take a lot of adjustment before one can fully adjust to the work-from-home setup. But there are things you can do to start taking better care of your mental health to fight burnout and isolation while working from home.
Take Pain Seriously
It is advisable that you don’t disregard whatever type of pain you have, especially if it has been going on for quite a while now. If you tried everything to manage your pain and other symptoms, but all efforts go in vain, then it is time you consult with the professionals. There is no reason to continue living in pain when you have many options to choose from.
Nurture Social Relationships
Just because you are not working from home does not mean that you should isolate yourself from your family and loved ones. Make time to catch up with your family and friends, even if that means going on a jog with them or having a virtual dinner together. Regularly connect with your colleagues at work and have a group chat where you can talk during your break time.
It also helps if you can work outside of your home at least once a week. This could mean going to a café or a co-working space to give you that office feels while working. If this is not possible, you can consider taking your laptop and work from your deck and backyard, where you can see your kids, family, or neighbors passing by as you type away on your laptop.
You must develop boundaries that will help you focus on your tasks. This involves having a dedicated workspace and letting your roommates or members of the household give you your space when it is time for work. Once you are done with your job, put away your laptop, turn off notifications, and start rituals that essentially separate your job from your personal life at home.
Your mental health matters, especially if you have been feeling lonely and burned out while working from home. Taking great care of your mental health will enable you to stay productive at work and still experiencing a satisfying social relationship with your colleagues and loved ones. If all efforts fail, don’t forget to seek help from the pros.