It has been almost a year since our lives, our social habits and our routines had to suddenly change. Covid-19 arrived and overnight many of us had to say goodbye to our office.
Teleworking, which was previously considered a new method, more characteristic of Anglo-Saxon cultures in the north, has also started to be the order of the day in our country.
So, because of the virus, many companies have moved from the question of whether or not teleworking will work in Europe to being forced to implement it. There were no more options.
Initially, it would only last a few weeks, then a few months, and currently, many of us have spent almost a year without having set foot in our offices.
The pandemic has rocked groups such as hotels and tourism in the most aggressive way possible. Either way, the vibration of this shock has reached any sector and any person.
I cannot deny that those of us who belong to the group of people who can still work from home are privileged. But I also can’t say that telecommuting won’t end up wreaking havoc one way or another.
For people who have been working from home for almost a year, it is their mental health that can end up being affected.
How does teleworking affect our mental health?
Different psychologists have set to work to explain the psychological consequences that teleworking can have. The first thing to understand is that mental health is just as important as physical.
Many times we overlook the importance of taking care of our mind without realizing the great influence that the mind has on our body. A healthy person will take care of their physical and mental health.
The main effects teleworking can cause are feelings of isolation, stress, anxiety, loneliness or exhaustion. In extreme situations, and if symptoms are not treated in time, illnesses such as depression could be reached.
We have looked at articles published on specialized psychology websites such as Clinica Alemana or Gabriela Paoli to tell you about some of the main problems that can result from telecommuting if proper guidelines are not followed.
Feeling of isolation. Which is linked to loneliness. Many of us have stopped going out everyday, using crowded public transport, sitting at a table in a busy office. Coffee breaks with colleagues. Comment on the weekend. Face to face meetings in different rooms. Go down for a walk and stretch your legs while resting. All of that is gone.
The contrast is great: from an overcrowded life one passes to being alone and alone all day in the same room.
The feeling of isolation is linked to the lack of physical contact. The fact that everything is now virtual can even remove our sense of belonging to the company. Our role is starting to be more diffuse, we feel isolated from the world and from our team.
Anxiety and stress. The uncertainty of the situation leads us to feel anxiety. The stress comes from the fact that the change has happened so suddenly. Many will not have had enough mental time to adjust to the new situation.
That is, a transition from office to telecommuting was not made, but the change came abruptly.
On the other hand, the fact that many do not get used to the new reality of work will also increase their stress and mental exhaustion.
Work addiction Addictions are always bad, so while addiction is sometimes mistaken for responsibility and hard work, make no mistake, work addiction is never positive.
According to the psychology website Terapify, work addiction is known as the urge to work without rest, it becomes an uncontrollable urge which leads the person to take on more and more tasks.
The consequences of work addiction can be disastrous as it has a direct impact on your mental health and ends up having negative effects on your personal life.
Some symptoms of work addiction are linked to not respecting the established schedule, lack of free time, constant feeling of fear or anxiety about work, frequent stress due to work, bedtime thinking about ongoing work activities or refusing to drink on the Sabbath when sick.
How to take care of your mental health if you telecommute
If you are suffering from any of the problems listed in the previous section, it is recommended that you always consult a professional. It is necessary to normalize the transition to therapy because we can never forget to neglect our sanity.
In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to avoid damaging your sanity while telecommuting.
Set schedules: manage your time
Perhaps one of the main problems with teleworking is the difficulty of scheduling. After all, we work from home, which leads us to ‘make our hours more flexible’. Start later or earlier and work overtime without us even realizing it.
It is important that you mark your hours. It always starts at the same time and finishes the job at the same time. There are apps to keep you organized that you may find helpful.
Another good idea is to use an agenda, if you prefer a physical version of one of the apps we recommend. Having an agenda can be therapeutic and will help you organize your days and weeks better.
At El Corte Inglés, we found Mr Wonderful’s diary for $ 16.95. It has a cheerful design, with designs, stickers, and motivational phrases that can cheer you up.
If you prefer a more classic design, with fewer distractions, you can take a look at this hardcover diary from Moleskine, also available from El Corte Inglés for $ 12.53.
Prepare your workplace
Ideally, you would choose a location in your home away from your bedroom. In this sense, it is important to separate the spaces, it will help you to concentrate and be more productive and also to disconnect if necessary.
We are aware that in many cases this will not be possible, so you will have no choice but to use your bedroom as a working space.
Whatever your case, it is important that you always use the same place in your home to work.
Once you have decided on the workplace, you will need to consider the following:
If possible, choose a place with natural light, psychologist Gabriela Paoli explains that you should avoid standing in front of a window or from behind. It is better if the light enters from the side.
You can improve the light you receive with a fold desk lamp. If you don’t have one yet, it’s important to invest in a good lamp as your eyesight could be affected as well. We were able to personally test this Taotronics model for $ 39.99 on Amazon and the truth is, it’s a highly recommended buy option.
Regarding furniture: it is very important that you use the suitable chair. Consider that you are going to be spending many hours at work, you definitely need a chair that takes care of your back.
In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best office chairs for working from home, all tried and tested by our team.
Obviously, the table or desk it is also one of the main elements. If you have enough space, it would be great to have a desk big enough to work comfortably.
In this case, we weren’t able to test any of these models, but we took a look at Amazon and saw some options with really good reviews from people who bought them.
This Habitdesign model was rated 4.4 / 5 out of a total of 577 reviews. You can buy it on Amazon for $ 127.90 and it comes in four different colors.
The material will depend on your needs and especially your budget in the event that your company does not cover the expenses (although it should, you can discuss it with your bosses if you have not already done so). Important materials for teleworking are your computer screen (the bigger the better), the keyboard and the Mouse (They must be ergonomic so as not to harm your health).
You may need additional materials. For example, if you make a lot of video calls or have customer meetings, there is headphones with microphone designed exclusively for this.
An example of this is the Jabra Evolve2 65 headset that I personally use in all of my meetings. You can read the full review of my experience with the Evolve2 65 if you like.
There are also other add-ons that will help your office stay visually tidy which will definitely help your mind. I mean cups for pens and pencils, a desk bin or a rug that protects your table like this one from the Harber London brand that we got to try.
Establish a routine
Having a routine is one of the healthiest ways to deal with the obligation to work from home. Always get up at the same time, have breakfast and change your clothes, no work in pajamas, as comfortable as it sounds.
It is extremely important that you mark times for your breaks. It is recommended to take short breaks between hours (your eyes will appreciate this too). And especially to eat. But stop for real. Shut down your computer, open a book, or put on a series while you eat.
Take advantage of this time to disconnect and recharge your batteries, you will be much more productive. It is not recommended to eat at your work table.
Communication is the thread
We have already said that teleworking isolates us socially. One way to avoid this is to try and continue having conversations like you would in the office with your coworkers, even if it is virtually.
This will help you to continue to be a part of the group and the company. At the end of the day, Aristotle has already said: “We are social beings by nature”.
On the other hand, if you feel that the situation of having virtualized all your work makes you receive less feedbacks from your bosses, ask for them. Explain that you want to continue to receive feedback on your work, as this will help you stay motivated and better achieve your work goals. Your bosses will certainly be happy to collaborate.