COVID-19 restrictions had many of us working from home for long periods of time, and some of us are still firing up our laptops from the home office or couch.

Working from home has its perks, such as sleep-ins, flexibility, and saving on fuel – but it also has its pitfalls. As we spend more and more time working remotely, we’re learning just how much it can impact our mental health and happiness.

This article will explore some of the psychological effects of working from home and how to avoid loneliness without the social interactions of a workplace.

 

Psychological Effects of Working from Home

Beyond feeling a bit distracted or out of sorts, working from home can have some more serious effects on our mental health.

Research shows some of the negative impacts of working from home include:

  • Loss of social connection
  • Difficulty ‘switching off’ from work
  • Overworking
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety.

If you feel like the “working from home honeymoon” is over, you’re not alone.

In a survey conducted by Relationships Australia in 2020, a whopping 87% of respondents reported a significant change to their workplace since the start of COVID-19, and 63% of respondents agreed these workplace changes have impacted their mental health.

 

How to Maintain Social Connections While Working from Home

The workplace has been an important meeting point for many professionals. A lot of Aussies rely on our colleagues to fill our social cups, and working from home has had a huge impact on these connections.

75% of our 2020 survey respondents who strongly agreed that their workplace was part of their social life experienced a change to their mental health when working from home.

Here are a few ways to maintain your social connections with colleagues while watercooler chats aren’t an option:

  • Schedule social catchups – Missing casual Friday afternoons in the office when you’d drop tools early and chat weekend plans? Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on those social catchups. Bring some culture and fun back to your workday and find a time to catch up with your colleagues over Zoom.
  • Choose video over email – Giving or asking for feedback? Collaborating on a project? Next time you need to reach out to a workmate, consider whether it could be beneficial to talk over video chat instead of email. This can give you a social boost and help solve any work-related issues sooner – win-win!
  • Book regular one-on-ones with your boss – Regular one-on-ones can help build trust and provide an opportunity to voice any concerns. Depending on what’s appropriate for your role, ask your boss for weekly, fortnightly, or monthly catchups to touch base and get some human interaction.

If you need some extra support at the moment, counselling might help. Our experienced counsellors can help you explore your concerns and possible solutions in a safe and supportive environment.

You can learn more about our counselling service here, or call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment.

Learn more interesting ways COVID-19 workplace changes have impacted our mental health here.