Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic back in early 2020, the nationwide trend towards remote work was already well underway. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that 43% of the American workforce was already working remotely – at least part-time – even before the crisis forced millions of employers to adopt a distributed workforce model.
But now that social distancing has become the country’s top public health priority, working from home has gone from being less of a trendy perk to more of a norm. And as anyone who’s been working remotely over the last eight months will be able to attest, this has come with both its advantages and drawbacks.
On the positive side of things, many people have found themselves to be less susceptible to distractions – and therefore, more productive – while working from home. On the flip side, however, many remote employees have struggled to cope with the various mental health consequences resulting from long-term isolation.
In this article, we’ll highlight a few significant mental health risks associated with remote work – and how to avoid them.
Three Mental Health Tips for Remote Employees
In recent years, “employee burnout” has become a shorthand phrase to describe an individual overworked to the point of total physical and psychological exhaustion.
It’s easy to understand how the rigors of the modern workplace could lead to employee burnout. But as we’re beginning to see, long-term remote work can also produce harmful effects that can ultimately lead to burnout.
Therefore, employees must understand the health risks of remote work and take active measures to avoid them. Here are three simple and effective ways to do just that:
Set aside time to talk to loved ones. With most American communities under lockdown, it can be all too easy to let days go by without communicating with another human being. Lack of social interaction, however, is virtually guaranteed to produce anxiety and depression. In light of that, you should make it a top priority to find time every day (or at least every other day) to call, video chat, or meet with a friend or family member.
Stick to a routine. Daily routines play an important role in the maintenance of mental health. Without a routine, you’re liable to start feeling unstable and erratic. But when you get your daily routine down to a science, you’ll find yourself feeling much more calm, cool, and collected – even during a crisis.
Prioritize your physical health. In uncertain times such as these, it becomes more important than ever to look after your physical health. When you’re getting enough sleep, maintaining a proper diet, exercising regularly, and prioritizing all of the other practices that make up a healthy lifestyle, your mind will have a much easier time staying relaxed, concentrated, and burnout-free.
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