Remote working and mental wellbeing

Written by Chloe Hall.

Remote working gives many people greater freedom and control over their work/life balance. But if you work entirely remotely, it can be isolating.

We have some tips on how to look after yourself and your mental health while working from home.

How to look after your mental health while working from home

Establishing work-life boundaries

Some people who work from home may be able to dedicate a room for use as a workspace. This is a great way to establish a boundary between home life and your working routine.

Once the working day is over it is easy to get up, leave the room, and shift into a different mode, using the rest of your home as a place away from work.

However, for many people they simply do not have the space to separate work and life at home, so the living room or kitchen table or bedroom desk ends up being set aside for work.

In this case it’s very important to compartmentalise your working life as much as you can, even if it’s something as simple as spending five minutes putting away any work-related materials at the end of the day.

Start your day with a good routine

Getting a good start to the working day means having a straightforward routine.

Taking a shower, eating some breakfast, sorting out things for work, even going for a short walk before logging on are just a few ways you can establish a routine before work which will leave you feeling focused and motivated for the day ahead.

Domestic distractions

When working from home, it’s easy to get distracted by domestic issues.

Things like doing the dishes, hanging up laundry, or preparing dinner can get in the way of work, and suddenly take up a surprising amount of time.

If anyone else is at home they can also prove distracting, especially if they don’t have work to do themselves.

Drawing up a few guidelines for yourself should help to maximise the advantages of home working while minimising any potential distractions.

Stay connected with colleagues and friends

Home-based work can leave us feeling isolated, or even demotivated with work. Collaboration and face to face contact can often empower us and provide opportunities to establish or reinforce bonds across a team.

If you’re feeling isolated, consider arranging regular meetings online, or in person if possible. Contact with colleagues builds a sense of camaraderie and can improve your mental health.  

Staying connected with colleagues should be a priority if your mental health at work is poor.

Switching off from work

A major disadvantage of remote working is not being able to switch off from work issues at the end of the day. Remote roles leave you more vulnerable to feeling preoccupied by work, as it’s part of your life at home.

Remote working can blur the lines between work and the rest of your life. It is all too easy to finish off a task by working extra hours when you work from home.

If you are feeling anxious about a particular aspect of work, especially after the workday has ended, it is important to consider how to switch off.

Whether it’s through a mindfulness exercise, deep breathing, or going for a walk, you can train yourself to recognise when work has ended, and your personal time has begun.  

Switching off from work is vital for good mental wellbeing, and a happy personal life.

Enjoy the positives

Remote working brings many positive benefits: you don’t need to commute, you can’t get stuck in traffic, or be late to work. You have more control over your time and can work from home however best suits you.

If working from home is getting stale, try remembering these positive elements, and how much more control you have over your working life than we did working only in the office.

Read more about habits to improve your mental health at work, or learn about how burnout can impact your work.

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Posted on: 3rd January 2023