Could Working From Home Be Detrimental To Your Mental Health? | The Fix

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While working from home is becoming more common and has certain conveniences, there are some pitfalls to doing so as well, new research has found.

The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that working from home may negatively affect wellness, Forbes reports.

More specifically, when discussing the negative aspects of working remotely, 49% of those surveyed said they most struggle with wellness-related aspects. This includes 22% saying they are unable to “unplug” after they finish working, 19% reported feelings of loneliness and 8% struggled with motivation.

“These statistics could have a number of subjective influencers, such as the management style of their boss, their local connection speed, their personality or even which organization tools are used,” Forbes states. “However, there is one dominant common thread that can’t be ignored: 84% of all remote workers are working from a home office.”

According to Dr. Amy Cirbus, PhD, Manager of Clinical Quality at Talkspace, those who work remotely often struggle more with depression and anxiety than their peers in a traditional workplace. They also often cite feeling lonely and isolated.

“Remote workers report a lack of concentration and focus that can compound and exacerbate these mental health challenges,” she tells Forbes. “It can lead to a loss of self-worth and a questioning of one’s abilities. Combined together, these symptoms can have a significant impact on job performance, job satisfaction and the efficiency of productive work.”

According to Forbes, there could be a few reasons for this connection between working from home and wellness struggles. For one, self-management can lead to taking on more tasks than normal. Some remote workers also struggle to identify progress in their career, due to the lack of traditional milestones of climbing a career ladder.

The idea of work output also contributes to stressors for some who work remotely. Many who work in the freelance field, according to Forbes, are expected to pitch their own assignments and then complete them. Sometimes this may even lead to focusing so much on output that individuals are working unpaid hours or not taking sufficient breaks.

However, these struggles don’t necessarily mean that working from home should be discouraged. Instead, remote workers can take a few steps to make sure they are doing so in a healthy manner.

One suggestion is creating a home office area, which will help create a literal separation of work and home life. Another is to stick to some form of normal working hours each day, while also making sure to move and exercise throughout those hours. Finally, Forbes suggests staying connected with others to limit isolation and being sure to have a support network.

“Research indicates that both exercise and connecting with others, even in short bursts, produces endorphins that boost mood, increase creativity and esteem, and decrease anxiety,” Cirbus tells Forbes.

“The key is the consistency. One afternoon walk or one lunch break with a colleague or friend won’t eliminate these mental health challenges. Making a daily commitment to healthy injections of well-being on a regular basis is where the positive, lasting change occurs.”

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