Is working from home making you depressed?
Working from home, for many, has had its perks. There is no long commute and for many a better work-life balance. However, these perks can be outweighed by the cons. For lots of workers, working from home has been an overwhelmingly negative experience, and for some has resulted in new depressive behaviour and experiences.
Isolation When working from home you have no in-person office communication and although this has been replaced by Zoom, Teams and Google Meet, meetings are very much the focus, and 'office chat' tends to not exist in the working from home world. If you are new to a company, particularly if you have joined during the pandemic period, these virtual communications may feel awkward, or even isolating. Work is sometimes an escape and a form of consistent socialisation with non-family members. Without this, you may feel alone and closed off from your office workplace, particularly if many of the staff are still going into the office and you are not.
Work / Life Balance Some people thrive with more time in the day, which is created through the lack of a work commute. With extra time to do their tasks, you may struggle to set boundaries and have actually found yourself to be less productive in a longer space of time. Often, this from a lack of routine when working in this new at-home space - as a completely new working environment can throw lots of workers like yourself off, especially with new distractions. Using breaks can often boost productivity, however, you may struggle with getting back to work after a break or lunch. It can take only a small distraction for the whole day to feel as though it's been wasted. This lack of structure within the day can cause procrastination and lack of focus, making many employees frustrated that their work quality has dipped. On the flip side, you may find yourself getting a lot done. While this is great, with no journey home it gets easier to stay logged on. "Oh I'll just log on again after dinner, or when the kids have gone to bed." Workers are finding themselves putting in longer hours as there are no physical boundaries stopping their progress.
No office space Not having an established place in your home that you can go to without (many) distractions is key. This can be difficult, not everyone has a designated office space and if you have young children or attention-loving pets it can feel almost impossible to get any work done. You may even have an office space, however, you may not be the only home-based worker in your home. Working alongside a family member/friend/loved one can cause all sorts of distractions, particularly if one or both are due to have a meeting, at the same time. It can feel overwhelming for many to work alongside their partner, or even children if they are medically vulnerable and isolating at home.
The key thing to remember is that while working from home for some has its benefits, it's not always easy. If you are struggling or feeling isolated, it is important to let people know. While we are continuing to navigate the new working environment it's important to vocalise concerns to your employer or clients and to see help/advice where you need it.