Thanks to the ability to be constantly connected to the workplace, many offices provide their employees the benefit of working from home. A Gallup survey found that 43 percent of Americans work remotely at least some of the time, which is a four percent increase from 2012. While some employees may not take advantage of this perk, more and more are working from home for a variety of reasons.
Depending on your personality and the type of worker you are, working from home has its benefits. You can save time on your commute (unless it’s from the bed to your home-office), increase your productivity both personally and professionally, and even help with your work-life balance. Getting out of the office every so often can help you maintain your sanity and wellbeing. However, there could also be side effects for your mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health awareness has become increasingly important recently, and rightly so. While working from home may be convenient and save you some time each day, it can have an impact on your mental health. According to clinical psychologist and founder of Los Angeles-based Thrive Psychology Group, working from home has benefits and side effects. “If you plan well and are intentional about how you schedule for work-life balance, social interactions, and [have] a positive work environment in your home, then working from home can give flexibility that is positive for one’s mental health,” she says. “Working from bed or [in] your pajamas can be tempting, but [that] can leave people feeling depressed.” In an article for on-demand audio fitness trainer Aaptiv, Laura Hensley provides a few side effects that working from home can have on your mental health.
Working From Home Can Cause Feelings Of Isolation
While the benefits of working from home include no commute and a comfortable environment, you’re likely spending the majority of your day alone without communication to your office. If your job is always remote, most of your communication is likely through email or Slack without much human interaction. The lack of distraction may be good for productivity, but it isn’t great for your long-term mental health. According to Dr. Ruan, “The lack of casual interactions throughout the day can lead to missing last-minute plans with co-workers, such as [a] happy hour or impromptu lunches. This can leave you feeling left out both socially and professionally.”
To counter these feelings, it is important to make an effort to keep in touch with colleagues. This can be in the form of coffee or lunch meetings, or even a phone call or FaceTime/Skype. Another thing you can do is work from a coffee shop or co-working space just to be around people and alleviate feelings of loneliness. Making plans to see people is important, especially for those who work for themselves or don’t have colleagues. One of the great things about working from home is the flexibility, so you can do things during the day that you wouldn’t be able to at the office, such as take a work out class or grab lunch with friends.
Working From Home Can Affect The Quality Of Your Work
The vibe when working at the office versus working at home can differ greatly. Some of us do our best work in the comfort of our own home, while others prefer to throw on their work clothes and head to the office to get things done. The downside of working at home can be the lack of brainstorming new ideas. To get around this, schedule meetings with coworkers or seek out a mentor for guidance.
It’s All About Balance
When working from home it can be tempting to be connected for all hours of the day. However, in order to maintain your sanity, it is important to know when to “turn off” for the day. Just because you aren’t working in an office you can still have a healthy work-life balance.
Working remotely is a perk that many employees wish they had. However, there is more to working from home than being able to sit on the couch in sweat pants all day. If you aren’t careful, your mental health and wellbeing could fall victim to some side effects. Now that you are aware of these side effects and how you can counter them, next time you work remotely you can maintain and even improve your productivity and wellbeing!