Remote Work & Mental Health

Remote Working at home and mental health - Photo by Alexa Williams

Working remotely or working from home can be liberating for some people, but for others, it can be isolating and have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing.

We know that with the coronavirus, working remotely from home is now a forced reality for millions of people – this can cause new mental health challenges for people or it can aggravate and trigger existing problems.

Isolation on its own can cause greater anxiety and worry for people with existing mental health problems. If you have any worries then you can speak to Mind or Mental Health Matters on the helplines below:

Mental Health Matters: 0800 107 0160
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
Email Mind: info@mind.org.uk
Text Mind: 86463

If you have to self-isolate, then you may be concerned about loneliness and depression. Mind have some more information which may help you, including information on mindfulness and how it could help:

About depression
About loneliness
About panic attacks
About physical health and mental health
About Mindfulness

We also have some top tips for working remotely from home from people who have been working from home for years. Maybe their tips could help you too?

  1. Get dressed for work in the morning; getting up washed and dressed can help your mind adjust to work and provide separation between your personal and work lives.
  2. Allocate a Workspace; it could be on the dining table, in the shed, the spare bedroom, or even a tray/bit of wood that allows you to spread out your work stuff but also to pack it away. Having a defined space where you keep your personal life objects clear can help your work mindset be more productive.
  3. Try not to use your bedroom. If you are lucky enough to have enough space in the house or garden, then try not to use your bedroom for work. Try to keep that space sacred for relaxing and switching off at the end of each day.
  4. Set time limits; define your working hours. It depends on your personal circumstances but if possible then try to limit personal or household tasks to your ‘lunch break’ and switch your work phone and emails off at the end of your working day.
  5. Eat good meals and try not to snack. It’s difficult when the food is so close and easy to access but remember that mental health and physical health are ultimately linked. Eat appropriately for the amount of exercise you are doing and the calories you are burning.
  6. Don’t forget the Social part of Social Distancing! Make sure you call your friends and colleagues, use Slack or Microsoft Teams to keep in touch. Use video calls with workmates and family to keep in touch and decrease social isolation.
  7. Be professional. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should work in your pyjamas, laying in bed. What happens if the call switches to a video chat? Check the background of where you are and what objects might accidentally be visible in the shot.
  8. Check in on each other. Start a buddy system with colleagues, friends, or other remote workers. Ask how they are and mean it – listen to the answer.
  9. Be Active and Creative. Keep your mind and body moving. Take a walk even if it’s around the house. Paint, read, sketch – try different things to keep your mind growing when you’re not exposed to as many everyday stimuli.
  10. Fresh Air! Walk outside if you can or open a window near to where you’re sat (don’t cause yourself a draught).