Navigating the challenges of remote work

May 11, 2023

A man working in a colorful home office

Remote work can be a divisive topic, some love it and some hate it. As more employers move to remote work, this has had a significant impact on many employees' wellbeing. A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that 43% of Americans reported feeling more isolated since 2020, and 35% reported feeling more anxious.

Remote work can be a great way to have a more flexible work schedule, and avoid wasting time commuting. But it can also lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and boredom. When you're working from home, you may not have as much social interaction as you would if you were working in an office. This can make it difficult to stay motivated and engaged in your work.

Overwork is another common challenge of remote work. It can be easy to fall into the trap of working too much. You may feel like you need to be constantly available to your colleagues, or you may feel like you need to work longer hours to make up for the lack of social interaction.

Both isolation and overwork can have a negative impact on your happiness. Isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and worry. Overwork can lead to burnout, fatigue, and stress.

If you're struggling with remote work, there are a few things you can do to cope:

  1. Set boundaries.

    One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to set boundaries around your work. This means setting aside specific times during the day for work, and then making sure to step away from your work when you're not working. It's also important to set boundaries around your availability. Let your colleagues know when you're available to work, and when you're not. Having a dedicated workspace can help you create a sense of separation between work and home. Whether it’s a dedicated room or even a table where only work is done and nothing else, this can create a clear sense of separation and reduce anxiety around work still to be done.

  2. Take breaks.

    It's important to take breaks throughout the day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Get up and move around, or step outside for some fresh air. Taking breaks can help you stay focused and avoid burnout. Create and stick to a daily and weekly routine to avoid burning out. Set realistic goals. Just like an athlete doesn’t train at their limit every waking hour, you shouldn’t expect yourself to be working or worrying about work every waking minute.

  3. Connect with others.

    Isolation is one of the biggest challenges of remote work. Make an effort to connect with other people, both inside and outside of work. Explore new hobbies, rediscover old ones, and meet up with friends, family, coworkers or classmates outside of the work environment

  4. Take care of yourself.

    Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. These things can help you stay healthy and well-balanced, both mentally and physically.

  5. Seek advice from others.

    If you're struggling to cope with any aspect of remote work, don't hesitate to seek help and advice from a third party. A coach can help you identify the root of your problems and guide you to find actions and routines that work for your situation.

Remote work can be a great way to have a flexible work schedule and avoid commuting, but it's important to be aware of the potential mental health challenges. By following these tips, you can help yourself stay healthy and well-balanced while working remotely.