Managing Stress when Working Remotely

Why Remote Workers Are at Risk of Poor Mental Health

In recent years, the prevalence of remote work has skyrocketed. With so many companies transitioning to a fully or partially remote working model, it’s not uncommon for employees to be working from home rather than in an office. Whilst this comes with enormous benefits, this shift can come with its own set of challenges when it comes to managing stress and mental health.  

Remote work can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness due to the lack of physical interaction with colleagues. It may be more challenging to form social bonds with new colleagues, especially so for those who have difficulty forming strong social bonds or interacting with others in general. In addition, some individuals may find that it’s more difficult to create healthy boundaries between their work life and personal life while working remotely. 

Stress management

Remote workers can face more distractions at home due to children or flatmates being around or having to answer the door, which can interrupt their flow. This can be especially challenging when performing tasks that require concentration such as writing emails or building presentations. This can impact productivity, cause frustration, increase stress levels. Remote workers may then feel that they must work extra hours to catch up. 

Finally, there is also a greater risk for burnout among remote workers since they are not able to completely disconnect from their job when they finish their daily tasks due to lack of physical work-life separation. Seeing their work equipment around the home can trigger work-related thoughts, which can lead to fatigue and emotional exhaustion over time.  

It’s important for both employers and employees to be aware of the potential impact of working remotely on mental health. Employers should strive towards improving connectedness amongst remote workers and striving to improve and monitor wellbeing.  

Benefits of Remote Working for Mental Health

Remote working can significantly benefit mental health and quality of life. Some of the benefits include: 

Flexibility: One of the major advantages of remote work is increased flexibility. Working remotely allows employees to create their own schedule and structure their day as it suits them best. This freedom can help to alleviate stress, enabling people to plan breaks throughout the day and to use these to benefit other areas of their lives. 

Reduced Stress Levels: Working remotely also means that employees no longer have to endure long commutes, which can often be a source of stress in itself. Not having to deal with crowded buses or trains can make a huge difference and allow employees to start the day feeling refreshed and focused rather than drained.  

Better Work-Life Balance: Remote workers are more likely to enjoy better work-life balance as they can spend their breaks getting housework done, leaving them more time at the weekends to themselves. Avoiding a commute, they also benefit from additional time to sleep in the mornings and to participate in hobbies and interests after work. 

Increased Productivity: While many organisations may worry about reduced productivity in remote teams, research has shown that remote working actually increases productivity overall. Staff are conscious of the assumption that they will be less productive, motivating them to work even harder. Staff may be better able to focus on tasks without distractions from colleagues or the office environment. Additionally, eliminating long commutes allows employees more time for actual tasks rather than simply travelling back and forth between home and work each day — leading to higher motivation levels overall with less stress around deadlines or workloads since there’s more available time for getting things done in an efficient manner.

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Environmental Factors

Working remotely can be a great way to stay productive, but it also has its own unique set of challenges. Fortunately, with a few simple changes, you can create an environment that will help you manage stress when working remotely: 

Firstly, it’s important to have a designated workspace that’s comfortable and ergonomic. Investing in good equipment such as an ergonomic chair or standing desk can make all the difference when it comes to minimising fatigue and discomfort. Additionally, try to keep your home office organised by dedicating shelves or drawers for essential paperwork and equipment. Not only will this help reduce clutter, but having everything within easy reach will save time and prevent distractions throughout the day.  

Lighting is another key environmental factor when creating a workspace that promotes productivity. Natural light is best for boosting mood and concentration, so make sure that wherever possible windows are free from obstructions such as furniture which could block out daylight hours. Additionally, remember to vary lighting depending on the tasks being undertaken – if reading texts or documents then choose softer lights which won’t strain your eyesight.  

Finally, consider adding elements of nature into your workspace as this can provide calming effects. Studies have found that having plants in the workplace reduces symptoms of stress while also increasing productivity levels overall.  

By making small adjustments around our home workspaces we can ensure we feel supported during times of remote working; reducing stress levels and improving focus in the process. With these tips in mind anyone can create an environment conducive to better mental health when working remotely – giving us all the best chance at feeling our very best each day! 

Creating a Commute

Many of us are used to having a physical commute between work and home. Without this transition time, it can be hard to switch off from work mode and know when to call it a day. Creating your own “commute” helps you create boundaries in your day-to-day life and give your mind time to process the day and prepare you to step into your role. Here are some tips on how to create your own commute:  

  • Set a specific commute time – Having an established commute time each morning helps you get into work mode. Setting an alarm clock or using a timer can be helpful in keeping you on track. 


  • Change up your routine – If possible, vary your route and schedule to keep your commute interesting and increase motivation. Try taking different routes around the block or getting out for lunch instead of eating at your desk every day. 


  • Take breaks throughout the day – Working remotely requires more self-discipline than working in an office setting as there is often no one else around to tell you when to take a break or step away from the computer screen. Allowing yourself small breaks throughout the day will help reduce stress levels and boost productivity over time. 


  • Exercise regularly – Taking regular walks or bike rides around the neighborhood can help clear your head and improve concentration levels during work hours. Exercise releases endorphins which will help improve overall mental well-being during times of stress or uncertainty. 


Incorporating structure into each day is key for success when working remotely – remember that by creating boundaries between ‘work life’ and ‘home life’, employees will be able to stay motivated and productive while managing their mental health more effectively too! 

Connecting with Others

Connecting with Others is an important part of managing stress when working remotely. Many people feel isolated while working from home and this can lead to increased levels of stress or anxiety. It is important to make sure that you are connecting with other people, both professionally and personally, to help reduce these negative effects.  

It is essential to maintain communication with colleagues including on non-work-related matters. Make use of digital platforms such as video calls, messaging services or even email. Setting time for “body doubling” and working on video at the same time can increase productivity and allow for casual conversation. This will help you stay motivated and connected with your team. 

In addition to staying connected professionally, it is also important to maintain meaningful personal connections as well. Make time for family and friends throughout the week, whether it’s arranging virtual drinks or evening phone calls with loved ones; having social support can be extremely beneficial in reducing the stressful impacts of remote work life.   

Another great way of connecting with others whilst working remotely is joining online communities or networks related to your field or interests; many professionals find solace in discussing topics relevant to them in an open forum where their opinions are respected and valued equally by others who share similar passions or experiences as them. There are also many mental health organisations that offer free online support groups specifically tailored for those experiencing distress due to remote work environments – making use of these resources can be incredibly beneficial in helping individuals cope better with their daily stresses.  

When it comes down to managing stress when working remotely, it is essential that individuals prioritise connecting with others as often as possible, to increase wellbeing and connectedness.  

Time Outside

One of the most effective ways of managing stress when working remotely is by taking regular breaks throughout the day to get outside. Spending time outdoors in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve psychological wellbeing. Nature activities such as going on a walk, gardening, cycling or swimming can all provide an escape from work-related worries while providing much needed physical activity that can help boost energy levels. Taking regular outdoor breaks will help you clear your mind and come back to your work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle any challenges with renewed enthusiasm.  

Getting out in natural light will also help regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, which are linked to sleep cycles and alertness levels. Ensuring that you have adequate exposure to natural light during your outdoor time will support better sleeping patterns helping you feel more energised each morning. Natural light is also known to boost Vitamin D production, which contributes to improved cognitive functioning enabling better problem solving skills – essential for remote working success!  

Time outside should also involve engaging activities that stimulate both physical movement and mental acuity; such as playing sport or participating in an outdoor yoga class. The combination of physical exercise and social interaction can result in improved productivity, greater concentration levels, enhanced creativity and enhanced emotional self-regulation – all great traits for remote workers!  

Taking time outside each day is an important strategy for managing stress when working remotely that should not be overlooked. Not only does it provide a break from the computer screen but it helps us reconnect with our environment so we return feeling relaxed yet energised – exactly what remote workers need! 

Screen breaks

Taking regular screen breaks when working remotely is important for improving overall wellbeing. A break from all electronic screens, such as laptops, phones, tablets, and television, can give your brain a much-needed rest and improve concentration levels and mental state.  

When working remotely, it is important to designate time during each workday for a mini-break from the computer. This could be anything from 5-30 minutes depending on personal preference. During this break, get outside if possible or focus on something unrelated to the tasks at hand – practice breathing exercises, listen to some calming music or read a book (not related to work). Anything which helps you clear your mind and refocuses it away from work will be beneficial.  

Be mindful of how long breaks should last and how often they should occur throughout the day. Many suggest taking short regular breaks rather than one longer one if possible; this might look like three 10-minute screen-breaks spaced out between tasks throughout the day. Also, try not to spend too much time on social media during these breaks; an increase of exposure to news or other people’s lives may not help you relax in the same way taking a walk outside would.  

Managing stress when working remotely requires developing healthy habits that allow individuals to switch off from their job duties every so often throughout the day. Screen-breaks are an important part of achieving this balance – by taking them regularly and making sure they are free of distractions, remote workers can maintain good mental health while still getting their job done efficiently! 

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