Mental health tips for remote workers

Mental health concerns are wide-spanning. However, now more than ever, worries surrounding the mental health of remote workers are high.

It’s currently estimated that 10 million people in the UK will require mental health support, with remote working acting as a significant contributor. The isolating, lonely and immovable feelings linked to working from home have found to increase stress levels, anxiety diagnoses and symptoms of depression, standing as a crisis, alongside such an unprecedented pandemic.

While there have always been many benefits linked to remote working, especially for those with flexible requirements, long before the shift in our economy, risks of mental health issues for remote workers have been acknowledged.

Unfortunately, down to stigmatisation and a lack of support, many remote workers have suffered in silence, making an already isolating experience even more deserted.

Here at Step One Recovery, we’re passionate about changing the proposal of remote working, where the benefits can outshine the risks and development of mental health issues.

If you’re struggling, please know that you’re not alone. Easier working arrangements can be secured with self-care, with healthy remote working conditions, and with the possible return to the office notice.

Here’s some mental health tips for remote workers to help you manage and enjoy this extra time at home, whether you’re working remotely down to the pandemic or out of choice.


Mental health risks for remote workers

While remote working provides flexibility, possible savings, greater independence and increased productivity, for some, working from home can be a challenge.

Ultimately, prior to the pandemic, working from home was a choice. Those who work remotely usually thrive off the flexibility they have, to work around family, health concerns, to manoeuvre around accessibility issues, to cut the commute, or to ultimately work in peace, rather than a heavy footfall office.

However, since the pandemic, remote working has become a necessity, in order to continue operating and earning. Many individuals who prefer the office environment, collaborative and social workspaces, physical support services and routine have been thrown into lone working. This has unfortunately resulted in many negatives, with a focus on mental health deterioration.

Loneliness is a key risk for remote workers, where social interaction, apart from Zoom meetings are limited. Feeling lonely can result in emotional pressure, which can materialise into mental health issues, including social anxiety and mood disorders.

While remote working offers greater work-life balance, many workers actually feel under pressure to work more. Heightening stress levels, in relation to burn-out are again contributing factors to the development of mental health symptoms.

A lack of routine, a lack of breaks, a blurred line between work and home life, unsociable working hours, a lack of development opportunities, reduced involvement and collaboration, and depleted support are all common results of remote working, which if experienced for the long-term, can amount to mental health risks.


The importance of self-care

Down to the above risks, it’s very important that remote workers learn to prioritise self-care, their wellbeing and their mental health. By utilising our mental health tips for remote workers, greater management will be likely, yet it’s recommended to know why self-care is important.

Ultimately, you cannot pour from an empty glass. Burnout, emotional exhaustion, mental health issues and stress can all reduce motivation, energy, concentration and commitment.

Through such feelings, it can be difficult to prioritise work, to fulfil responsibilities, to perform. This is exactly why the mental health of remote workers should be taken seriously, not only to protect their wellbeing and quality of life, but to also secure their livelihoods, their purpose and their stability.

Self-care, focusing on your health, your mindfulness, your time management, your stress management and your outlooks can help to improve your relationship with work, even as a remote worker. Here’s some tips for working from home, surrounding self-care, productivity, and to maintain good mental health.


Mental health tips for remote workers

While some of the below may seem insignificant, together they can improve your outlook and experience as a remote worker, in tandem with your mental health.

Create a manageable routine
The majority of our lives are filled with work. Of course, sometimes we do need to push ourselves to fulfil and perform our responsibilities. However, through a turbulent time, our daily routine should be manageable. One significant mental health tip for remote workers surrounds creating a routine which you can fulfil each day.

Think about what time you start work, consider separating your home and work life as much as possible, set yourself dedicated breaks, follow your in-house working hours, and also follow your in-house working responsibilities.

Priorities your lifestyle
As we’ve shared above, self-care is extremely important when manoeuvring through a stressful or pressurising time. Priorities your lifestyle, ensuring that you’re making healthy decisions to positively impact your wellbeing.

Think about your nutrition, your sleep quality, your work-life balance, your mindfulness and your movement; all found to improve mental health states.

Set boundaries
Our mental health tips for remote workers do focus on setting clear boundaries. It’s important to remember that yes, you are an employee. Yet, you’re also potentially a parent, a grandparent, a partner, a sibling, a friend. You have a personal life which shouldn’t be impacted by your working dynamics of remote working.

Set clear boundaries to differentiate your remote working status and your personal goals, needs and intentions.

Set daily goals
Productivity levels are known to increase for remote workers. However, through stress and pressure, productivity can reduce. Working from home and juggling a number of hats can feel overwhelming. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, we encourage you to set daily goals, which are realistic. By doing so, you’ll be able to control your day, your energy and your mindset.

Aim for connectivity
Loneliness is one of the key contributing factors of mental health risks for remote workers. By aiming for connectivity, those risks can be reduced, as you’ll naturally reach for social interaction, for support and for collaboration.

Once a sense of normality does resume, getting out as much as possible and remaining connected to those around you will help to alleviate the potential downfalls of remote working.

Think about your working environment
Your working environment can induce stress, can cause disruptions and can make a productive day fall flat on its face. Select a peaceful environment which can facilitate your daily responsibilities, set away from your busy home life. You should feel comfortable and relaxed enough to operate on a remote working basis.

While it’s understandable that mental health risks will likely remain for remote workers, and even those who work in-house, all down to life stresses and our current climate, there are steps we can personally take to ease such pressures. If you are however struggling, to a point where your mental health is reducing your quality of life, it’s time to reach out for professional, confidential guidance here at Step One Recovery.

We hope that our mental health tips for remote workers can help you through this time. Yet, in the event of a crisis, we are on the other end of the phone for you.