Coach Samira Gupta is an accomplished Executive Presence Coach, Life Coach (PCC-ICF), National Award-Winning Image Consultant & Leading Corporate Facilitator. She is the founder of Auraa Image Management & Consulting, a leading Corporate Training Firm. Coach Samira has personally coached over 500 individuals and trainer over 1.2 L corporate professionals. She assists her clients in achieving their personal and professional goals through her 25 plus years of experience, skills, education, certifications, practical tools & techniques.
“It’s up to you today to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are just healthy for your body, but healthy for your mind.”― Steve Maraboli
Last year has been very unprecedented for many professionals. Unfortunately, their lives were impacted severely once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and nationwide lockdowns forced organizations to adopt remote work, turning homes into workplaces.
These days, remote working is perhaps one of the biggest concerns for professionals. Although it sounded great to work from home while the world was enduring the pandemic, the reality was a lot severe than we could’ve thought. Working from home has driven us into unhealthy habits and damaged our mental health. This may have not affected everyone, of course, but the vast majority of remote professionals felt it throughout the pandemic last year.
People who work from home mostly experience feelings of isolation, depression, burnouts and struggle to maintain a work-life balance. Also, overworking and not setting boundaries in a remote environment can create many unhealthy habits that’ll lead to poor mental health. In this article, we’re going to talk about the importance of your well-being while remote working and how professionals can progress in their careers despite the challenges of remote working.
How can remote working impact employees’ mental health?
Remote working can affect employee’s mental health in many ways, such as:
When working remotely, individuals can feel lonely due to a lack of coworkers’ presence or a normal workplace environment. Some employees may significantly suffer from this as they are used to deriving energy from those around them.
Feelings of isolation are also due to being stuck at home. This increases stress levels and brings a sense of detachment to both individual’s and the company work, which have a negative effect on emotional well-being.
Working remotely leads to depression and can have far-reaching effects. The symptoms of depression include bursts of anxiety, anger, agitation, high cravings for food, unexplained physical problems like headaches and back pain, etc.
Working remotely can be easily exuded into an employee’s personal time. Primarily, remote professionals work for longer hours and feel they have to contribute more because they aren’t working from the office. This lack of work-life balance can also lead to high stress levels, which can turn to burnout if it’s not resolved.
How to overcome the challenges of remote working?
Your mental health well-being is crucial when working remotely. Burnouts, depression, isolation can easily affect people working from home. There are real consequences of remote working, especially if you’re not prepared. Therefore, it’s essential to take better care of your mental health. Here are some tips for employees to take care of their mental well-being when working from home.
Make a fixed schedule
Although several remote employees say that a flexible schedule is the biggest benefits of working from home, not sticking to a fixed schedule is harmful in many ways. When you have a fixed schedule, it’s much more easier for your mental well-being as you can get more done within the time lines, saving you from working beyond office hours.
Set goals but make sure they’re realistic
It’s difficult to keep track of your workloads, while working remotely. You may work for longer hours to complete the task which may lead to stress. Therefore, setting achievable goals, can boost your motivation. Find out the most productive hours of the day and challenge to finish all critical tasks within that period. This habit will help you achieve more and feel motivated for the next day.
Take regular breaks
When you’re comfortable working in a home environment, it’s easy to forget to take a break. Therefore, take regular intervals every now and then to ensure that you don’t overwork yourself. Give yourself time to relax in between work sessions. This could mean taking 3 deep conscious breaths, stretching your neck, taking a small walk around your house or getting a nice cup of tea for yourself.
Set up a comfortable work environment
In order to stay focused and relaxed, a work like set up is essential. Avoid slouching on the bed with your laptop in your laps. As insignificant as it may sound, your body posture has a direct impact on your productivity. A poor posture may lead to fatigue sooner and can cause pains in the body. Hence, ensure that you have a comfortable chair and your desk is organized with plenty of storage, stationery and water to keep yourself hydrated. Also, make sure that your laptop or computer is placed at a comfortable height.
It’s good to remember that you can still communicate and engage with your colleagues, despite working from home. It can help lift your mood and be more productive. Use message applications or social media platforms, video calls, and regular voice calls in order to stay in touch with coworkers and communicate effectively with your seniors. Keeping regular touch with your peers and coworkers helps build trust, strengthen the bond and feel supported.
Distractions can often extend your working hours and make it hard to stay focused on your work. Being productive while working from home can be challenging for some professionals. Several distractions such as kids, household chores, pets, and easy access to a TV can stop remote workers from achieving as their goals. One of the biggest challenges is social media. To avoid distractions, prepare a to-do list, based on their priority and start working on it. Once you accomplish one fourth of your tasks, take a short break and get back to working again.
Long pending tasks can make you feel burdened and unaccomplished, contributing to poor mental health.
Remote working is not an excuse to push yourself further than you generally would do while working from the office. Make sure that you set your boundaries, understand your limits and stick to a regular schedule in order to avoid overworking yourself. Therefore, set boundaries and say no to extra work after your office hours.
It’s not easy to determine the best course of action to take while working remotely. You need to identify the problems that concern you the most, talk about them, seek help from your co-workers, focus on what you can do about them and create a plan with baby steps to a motivated mental health.
You can take these small steps to develop better habits to improve your remote working productivity along with your mental well-being. Maintain work-life balance and adjust your daily workflow and always remember to prioritize your mental health. Try to avoid negative thoughts and distractions. When you’re aware of the causes, it becomes easy for you to address and fix the issues impacting your mental health while working from home. You also need to understand that change takes time because improving your wellness doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and trust the process.