In 2020 millions of people tried for the first time what working from home full time meant. While some companies have managed to slowly bring people back to the office, others are continuing to take a more cautious approach by allowing their employees to still work from home. 

Since this model worked very well for Ebury’s Technology team, we decided to follow this approach by allowing all our tech employees to work remotely.

We asked ourselves how working from home was affecting our colleagues’ mental health and what we need to do to address the issues that might arise from working in a different environment. To provide as much support as possible for our tech team, for the second year we have partnered with PsicoAbreu Malaga psychology team to offer free counselling sessions to our tech employees.

“We know and appreciate our employees’ hard work since it’s thanks to their hard work that the company continues to grow and succeed in today’s market. We care for our employees’ mental health and wellbeing and we hope that this free service will be as helpful as possible” – explains Isabel Moreno, HR partner at Ebury.

Since today is “Blue Monday” we asked PsicoAbreu specialists a few questions on how to take advantage of remote working and make the most of it. They shared some tips and interesting information on how work and mental health work together.

Can work from home affect employees’ mental health?

According to various studies, remote working can affect an employee’s mental health negatively due to loneliness and lack of interaction with other colleagues. But, if managed correctly, it can also bring many benefits.

What are the main mental health problems that can arise from working fully remotely?

For some people, working remotely can create a perception of isolation or loneliness, which can negatively impact their mental health by increasing the risk of anxiety, stress, and depression. 

Remote working can also lead to an internal pressure for constant connectivity and productivity to receive a positive assessment which previously was achieved through direct physical contact and timely supervision.

What problems can arise from living and working in the same physical space?

We highlight lack of physical activity, psychological problems resulting from loneliness, excessive consumption of food, sleep problems, and the inability to withdraw from work as some of the main problems.

But what are the mental health benefits of working remotely?

The remote work trend helps to find a balance between work and life, reducing the tension and stress the workplace often generates. Teleworking can also help to reinforce relationships with family that the person lives with and also with people they work with by having more flexibility.

Additionally, it contributes to the maintenance of psychological well-being because, with good organisational processes, stress can be reduced, which is a contributing factor to developing some diseases.

Stress is reduced by creating and having a calm work environment, not spending time commuting every day, looking after your wellbeing, and dedicating more time to your family.

Tips for remote workers to maintain a healthy work routine

  • Rest is an important factor to take into account: maintain a regular schedule when getting up and going to bed, be careful with large meals and caffeine before bedtime. 
  • Maintain a balanced diet: do not skip meals such as breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Have a healthy and balanced diet including dairy products, cereals, fruit, fish, meat, etc., and drink plenty of water.
  • Stay active by doing physical activity at least once a day.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Be more organised – we suggest using a calendar to mark up all your weekly tasks such as children’s homework, seeing your parents, reading, painting or even taking some cooking lessons. Disconnecting from your workspace and engaging with different activities, will help you maintain a good work-life balance.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends. If you’re unable to see them often, we recommend finding ways to maintain contact with your loved ones through technology (telephone, computer, tablet, etc.) avoiding isolation and lack of communication. 
  • Establish daily routines with your meal times, exercising,  showering, homework etc.
  • Differentiate the spaces and time dedicated to each activity.
  • Maintain good daily hygiene.
  • Try to make routine changes on weekends to differentiate weekday activities from weekend ones by doing family activities and developing new habits.
  • Perform physical activity through exercising, dancing, pilates, yoga, etc.

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