Since the global shift towards remote work in 2020, there has been a near-constant discourse about the effects of remote work on mental health. With endless surveys conducted producing conflicting findings, it seems as though anyone can spin a story to fit their own viewpoint on remote work. For example, in one survey by Cisco, 78% of respondents felt remote work improved their mental wellbeing, whereas another survey by the American Psychiatric Association reported that the majority of employees working from home say they experienced negative mental health impacts.
So, what’s the truth? How does remote work affect our mental health, and how might we strategise to make it the very best it can be?
The core benefit of remote work has always been the same: an improved work-life balance. In doing away with five days’ worth of commuting, for many of us, remote work handed us back our personal lives—with hours of extra time daily to do the things that make us happy. This, however, is a conditional perk. And the condition is that we can actually log off when we’re supposed to.
For others, remote work simply meant an inability to switch off. When your desk is also your dinner table, many feel the opposite effect of a better work-life balance which - in turn - rattles our mental wellbeing.
The answer, then, is simple. The relationship between our mental health and remote work is entirely dependent on the individual circumstances of our employment.
Research proves that, if a company is vigilant in prioritising decent working hours and proper support, remote work can have a positive effect on our mental health. If company leaders lead by example, logging off on time and encouraging an atmosphere of open communication, regular breaks, manageable workloads and fair pay, there is no longer a debate around remote work being damaging to mental health.
A company can also ensure that they are offering the right support to remote or outsourced employees, whether that’s regular face-time to alleviate loneliness, or strategic partners in HR to make sure employees are getting proper treatment and the right benefits.
At the end of the day, when it comes to remote work, there will always be arguments for both sides. The fact is, employees are multifaceted beings, and we want different things. The core issue is that of choice. We must at least be allowed to choose how we live and work. And, under no circumstances, should this choice come at the expense of our mental health.
Do you want to choose to work remotely? Whether you’re a worker or a company leader, you should be able to make the choice to live and work anywhere. And Remotify can help you do just that. Want to find out exactly how? Get in touch with our friendly team today.
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