Workers who work remotely often feel unmotivated, lonely and like they are working all the time, not able to separate work from non-work hours. They may feel isolated and disconnected from co-workers. This isolation can lead to feelings of being worried about their own performance and doubting their abilities. Left unchecked, these feelings can easily lead to increased anxiety and depression.
Working remotely can often affect physical health too. Not having to leave the house for work may lead to lack of exercise or poor diet. Feelings of anxiety and work performance issues can easily lead to workers experiencing insomnia, sleep disruptions and fatigue.
Separating their work and home lives is a major struggle. They are always “at the office” and they have constant access to work devices and computers. This can lead to feelings of guilt if they don’t take breaks or don’t address something right away.
Employers can reduce the risk of some of the mental and physical health issues by doing some of these things:
- Have employees set a “work” schedule and unplug from devices and computers outside of those hours. Set a timer or alarm when it’s time to take a break or end the day. Don’t be afraid to stick to the schedule. Managers much encourage this by ensuring the expectation of delivery is not instant and can be pushed to the next “work” time.
- Share information and resources about physical and mental health. Sources of information you can distribute could come from any level of government, your company’s benefit program, mental health hotlines, and dieticians.
- Emphasize the importance of good sleep habits.
- Offer to cover all or part of the costs of maintaining physical fitness like gym memberships, fitness equipment for the home and workout classes.
- Offer incentives for employees to take regular, active breaks. Have them log their activity of walking, running, or using some gym equipment and reward them for their use.
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