04. Wellness

Remote Work as a Solution for Mental Health Challenges in Traditional Workplaces

May 4, 2023

According to a report from The American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers face mental health challenges on the job, and nearly half say they need help dealing with them. Many employees experience stress, burnout, and other issues relating to their work environment, making mental health a significant concern for the employees and employers.

Fortunately, switching to a remote workspace and hiring remote personnel, such as a Filipino VA, can be a great way to promote your employees' mental well-being while also being a cost-effective way to increase your company's productivity. Let’s break down the benefits of remote work for mental health, strategies for managing mental health problems and providing support to employees, and the pros and cons of switching to a remote workforce.

Benefits of Remote Work for Mental Health

Stress is a common experience in any work environment, whether traditional or otherwise.

However, when stress becomes chronic and overwhelming, such as due to constant tight deadlines and high-pressure work culture that result in interpersonal conflicts in the workspace, it may lead to more serious mental health problems.

Burnout, anxiety and depression, sleep problems, and substance abuse are some mental health challenges employees may face in a traditional work environment.

Remote work may help solve these issues and significantly boost employee mental health. From being able to work on a flexible schedule to having the ability to fulfill job responsibilities from anywhere, employees report having fewer stressors and feeling more in control of their lives.

Additionally, working in a non-traditional environment can give employees a sense of autonomy, often leading to increased motivation and productivity.

Strategies for Managing Mental Health Problems in Traditional Workplaces

A growing body of research suggests a positive link between better mental health management and work productivity.

The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health reports the massive cost of depression in the United States economy – at least $210 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity.

Meanwhile, employees who experience positive mental health outcomes are usually more productive, engaged, and committed to their work.

Here are some strategies you can utilize as an employee to manage mental health challenges in a traditional work environment and how you, as an employer, can support your employees.

1. Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks can help reduce stress and improve focus and productivity. A survey suggests that periodically stepping away from your desk to take a break leads to better overall well-being and job satisfaction.

By prioritizing tasks, you can also better manage mental health issues in a traditional workspace. Identifying and focusing on urgent tasks can help you handle your workload and reduce stress.

As an employer, you can reduce stressors from your work environment and culture, such as providing a designated break area or allowing your employees to take short breaks during the workday.

Additionally, it’s crucial to set clear goals and priorities. Doing so can help employees manage their time effectively, motivating them to achieve these goals and increasing job satisfaction.

2. Practice self-care

Practicing self-care can help lower stress levels and improve one’s mental health. A study shows that engaging in self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or hobbies, is linked to better job performance and reduced burnout.

If you're struggling with mental health problems, don't be afraid to seek support from a colleague, supervisor, or mental health professional. A survey indicates that employees with sufficient assistance have better mental health outcomes.

If you’re an employer, offer mental health resources. Counseling services, mental health workshops, or employee assistance programs (EAPs)  may help your employees manage stress and other mental health issues more effectively.

3. Use stress-reducing techniques

Deep breathing, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation are some of the stress-reducing strategies you can employ to help manage your work stress. Employees who practice stress management strategies may handle high-pressure workspaces more effectively.

If you’re an employer, you can foster a supportive workplace culture by promoting open communication and destigmatizing mental health issues. You may also offer stress management training to your employees.

Moreover, you can help your employees manage stress and other mental health challenges by reducing workplace stressors like heavy workloads, unrealistic deadlines, or poor communication. With fewer stressors, you can create a happier, more productive workforce.

4. Set clear boundaries

Establishing boundaries between personal life and work is vital to managing stress and other mental health issues in a traditional workspace.

For instance, you can reduce stress by avoiding checking emails or work-related messages during non-working hours.

As an employer, you must encourage your employees to set clear boundaries. Respecting their time, providing flexible work hours, or allowing for remote work when possible are some ways to accomplish this.

The Downsides of Switching to a Remote Work

While remote work has many benefits for mental health, it also has potential drawbacks to consider before you make the switch.

Humans are social creatures. One of the most significant challenges of a remote work environment is the potential for isolation.

People need social interaction and connection with others to thrive. When working remotely, the lack of in-person social interactions may lead to feelings of loneliness and decreased motivation and productivity.

Working in a remote environment can present challenges for maintaining a work-life balance. Employees experience incredible difficulty in setting boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

Although a non-traditional workspace such as a home offers better flexibility, the lack of separation between work and personal life may increase stress levels.

Switching to a remote workforce may also impact productivity and communication. Unlike traditional workspaces, it may require remote employees to have different skills and tools to communicate effectively with colleagues.

Without a doubt, there are various strategies that you can employ to manage mental health challenges in traditional workplaces.

These strategies include taking breaks, practicing self-care, using stress-reducing techniques, setting clear boundaries, and seeking help.

If you’re considering switching to a remote workforce, you must provide your employees with the necessary resources, tools, and adequate support.

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