July 13, 2020
Maintain Your Mental Health While Working From Home
Filed under: Work at Home Hacks
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes and challenges to our world, including our workspaces. For many, this is the first time that working from home is not only an option but a necessity.
The problem is that the transition to remote work can be tricky at the best of times. Doing it in the middle of a pandemic certainly adds more stress, confusion, and mental-health impacts. Now more than ever, it is crucial to maintain your mental well-being while working from home.
Working from home certainly comes with many benefits. It can lead to more productivity, greater feelings of satisfaction, and ultimately, workers who want to stick around with a company that offers flexibility. But those benefits can only come if the challenges are addressed. Individuals working from home have to manage work-life balance, other distractions in their lives, and feelings of disconnection from the workplace environment. If left unchecked, those challenges can drag mental health down.
Use these tips to create a routine. They will help you stay connected. And they will also help you maintain that all-important work-life balance.
Create a New Routine
For many of us, work follows a certain routine. The COVID-19 crisis largely disrupted many if not all of these routines, work included. In-office workers are used to commuting to their jobs, chatting by the water cooler and taking lunch breaks. When working from home, none of those situations or routines really apply. That means it is time to make a new routine, based around the realities of remote work.
It is important to be predictable and stable as much as possible. Get up each day, eat breakfast, and consider replacing that commute time with another transition activity to prepare for the day. Ensure that your colleagues know your routine. You can also communicate this schedule to anyone else in the household, promoting overall stability and privacy while you work.
Be sure to build in breaks, too. Being at home is no reason to work for hours on end without stopping. You should be prepared to be flexible within your routine. Make room for the realities of life at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Stay Connected and Communicate
Maintaining your mental health while working from home means combating isolation. We are all used to connecting and communicating with colleagues, readily in-person. Those lunch-break chats, elevator conversations, and even meetings and group discussions add up to a lot of contact. When every aspect of work moves on to remote platforms, the human connection is easily lost.
Luckily, there are tech options to make communication and connection easy again. Ensure that you stay in regular touch with colleagues, using video calls, group chats, and similar platforms. Whether it is a quick hello on a company discussion forum or a virtual happy hour once a week, those moments of connection add up.
Pay special attention to options for video conferencing. In times when we have to stay physically separate, video calls are one of the few ways to connect face-to-face. It adds that human connection often missing from remote work, promoting better mental health.
Unplug When Work is Over
When working remotely, leaving the office at the end of the day looks a lot different. Because work is at home and home is at work, it can be a challenge to leave the virtual office behind when the workday is through. You may have the urge to keep checking in on work, especially with your home office setup so accessible.
Because you have set a fairly predictable schedule and communicated it to colleagues and your family, you should be able to log-off, shut the computer down, and silence work-related emails and calls as much as possible. Of course, some people work in an on-call environment, but even then, try to prioritize your home time as being work-free.
By turning the job off when work time is over, you can focus on healthy activities that contribute to a positive mental outlook. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, and stay active and hydrated.
For some, remote work will continue beyond the immediacy of the coronavirus pandemic. Maintaining mental health while working from home will then be a long-term need.
It is important to continue to monitor your mental health as you work from home. Have a plan of action for seeking help if you become overwhelmed. Do not be afraid to reach out for support. Corporations and organizations should also be prepared to help staff through these challenges, adapting to remote workers’ physical and mental health needs.