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6 Ways Work from Home Affects Mental

28 February 2024

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, it has changed everything, from how we work to how businesses worldwide operate. What seemed impossible a few years ago has now become a norm. Yes, we're talking about agile and remote working models. Being able to work from the comfort of your home was a perk that only some companies offered to their employees, but thanks to the pandemic, it became the way all companies had to operate for several months.

Nearly 2 years down the road, remote working has become a norm that's here to stay for good. People are enjoying working from home, and employers are happy saving money on operational costs.

While the agile working model seems absolutely a dream come true, we can't turn a blind eye to the drawbacks and cons.

One of the biggest questions is whether work from the home model has any effect (good or bad) on mental health. Well, to answer your question, yes. Work from home model has a profound impact on your mental health. This blog post sheds light on it in detail.

The Effect of Work from Home Model on Mental Health

The idea of being able to work from the comfort of your home sure sounds relaxing and liberating. And it is too. But not always. Work from home model has some good and some bad effects on mental health.

Let's walk you through how working from home affects your mental health.

The Good

1. Saves Money

One of the biggest expenses that people wish they didn't have to do is the cost of commuting to and from work. With ever-increasing petroleum prices, the money that goes into commute can be a lot. Having to spend a significant portion of your income on the commute can be a source of stress for you. Not only that, but being stuck in traffic, the anxiety associated with getting late for work, and the frustration of being stuck in traffic after a long day at work can affect mental health.

However, when you're working from home, you don't have to worry about that. Working from home alleviates the stress related to transportation costs, and anything that alleviates stress is good for your mental health.

2. Saves Time

Going to work consumes most of your day. If you've got an 8-hour long shift at work, the time you spend is actually way more than that. From getting up and preparing for work to spending time driving to and from work add up to much more than 8 hours every day! At the end of the day, you're pretty much left with no time to spend on your own. You're too exhausted for anything. And when you fail to make time for things you enjoy, you feel frustrated, affecting your mental health.

When you're working from home, you don't have to spend any time preparing or driving to work. You can just wake up and start working. You can tend to your family in between when the workload isn't too much. You can even take time out for evening walks and workouts. When you've got time for things other than work, you'll feel fresh and relaxed, something that you longed for when you went to the office every single day of the week!

3. Promotes Relaxation

How often were you relaxed in the mornings before heading to work? Well, that's rarely the case. Most of us are in a rush in the morning. We're always short on time. Being on your toes from the moment you wake up so that you don't get late for work is bound to tire and stress you out. Then comes the stress of traffic, finding a spot to park, and the list can go on.

Working from home saves you the early morning race. You wake up relaxed. You can enjoy your breakfast in peace and start work fully relaxed. There's no denying the fact that working from home cuts down stress levels significantly and makes you feel so much lighter and fresh!

4. Improved Morale

Working from home boosts employee productivity. The employees are much more comfortable and relaxed at home. They're saved from workplace stress and anxiety. With that, they're able to focus on work better. With greater comfort and focus comes enhanced productivity and efficiency. When you perform better, your morale is naturally boosted. Your managers appreciate you more, and your professional growth chances are also much better. All of this helps you feel good about your job and, more importantly, about yourself, which is excellent for your mental health.

The Bad

5. The Sense of Isolation

While working from home has multiple pluses for mental health, the model isn't all perfect. One of the biggest drawbacks of working from home for mental health is the sense of isolation. Introverts would be thankful to the pandemic for giving them the chance to stay at home, but it's a massive challenge for extroverts. Working from home means you're at home all the time. You don't get to meet people. This can trigger a sense of isolation and loneliness, leading to a decline in your mental health.

6. Increases Stress

Some people, especially those with kids, struggle with maintaining focus when working from home. There are too many distractions at home that can affect their ability to focus and result in a decline in productivity. Not only this, the lack of comfortable office equipment can make it physically uncomfortable to work with 100% focus. These factors can affect productivity. Inability to work as well as you're capable can put you under excessive stress and affect your mental well-being. You may be irritable and cranky, which shows your mental health isn't doing well.

Another way working from home can contribute to increased stress levels is the fact that when you're working from home, the boundary between work and life becomes somewhat blurred. You're working during off hours. This can further affect your mental health adversely.

How Can You Safeguard Your Mental Health While Working from Home?

Working from home has got both good and bad effects on mental health. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but that doesn't mean we can simply ignore the negatives. Knowing how to cope with the adverse effects of working from home on mental health can make work from home a truly ideal scenario.

Let's look at the many ways you can change things around and make work from home all good!

Discourage Employees from Working Extra Hours

One of the reasons why working from home may be affecting employees' mental health is the poor work-life balance. Employees are often working way past their shift timings, and as a result, the boundary between work and personal life becomes blurred. This results in frustration, irritability, and stress. One way to prevent that is by discouraging employees from working extra hours.

Make it a policy that no manager will schedule any meetings past regular shift timings. Tell your employees that they should try to get the maximum work done during their shift, and if they fail to complete their day's task on time, they should adjust it in the next day's schedule instead of continuing to work past their shift timings.

Offer Flexibility

Instead of making your employees time-bound, try to change your approach to a project timeline-bound. This way, your employees can take time out during their shifts to do things they enjoy or simply cater to their family needs. Communicate project timelines clearly and let the employees manage work as per their preference. It would be best if you didn't show displeasure with the schedule they choose as long as they aren't falling behind on the project deadline.

Encourage Employees to Setup Comfortable Home Offices

As we've said earlier, working in uncomfortable conditions affects productivity, and the loss of productivity increases work-related stress. One way you can change that is by encouraging your employees to set up comfortable home offices equipped with ergonomic work desks and chairs like the Essential Office chair (C3). You can offer to reimburse the money they spend on ergonomic furniture for their home office or give all your employees a set budget to encourage them to invest in the things that'll ensure their physical comfort and sound mental health.

Provide Mental Health Coverage in Health Insurance

Simply offering your employees mental health coverage in their health insurance plans can make a huge difference. If any employee experiences symptoms related to poor mental health, they would know that they can go to see a professional without being worried about the costs that'll follow. This would ensure that any mental health symptoms don't get exacerbated and all employees are doing well mentally!

Closing Word

Working from home offers tremendous benefits to employees. However, it does pose a risk to mental health. The good news is that the negative impact of working from home can be prevented. All you've got to do is take the necessary measures at the right time.