Indian employees working from home are becoming increasingly stressed, and it is impacting their mental wellbeing. A recent survey by The7thFold reveals that 36% of Indian employees are suffering from mental health issues, which in turn are causing a considerable decline in their overall wellbeing as well. Making matters worse is the work-from-home setup that employers “literally adopted overnight” and is now “creating a whole new set of challenges” (like disrupting work-life balance, isolation, and dealing with distractions).
That said, it’s highly likely that you, yourself, are dealing with these same challenges. In that case, this guide is for you, as it will help you look after your mental health while you work from home.
Find the right work-life balance
In a survey conducted among remote workers (working from home), 36% admitted that the setup has disrupted their work-life balance, resulting in longer workdays and the blurring of work and home boundaries. This disruption is adversely affecting their lifestyle and, more crucially, their sleep, which is “the foundation of a sound mind,” says GOQii founder and CEO Vishal Gondal. It is also causing spikes in stress levels, leading to mental health issues like depression. Chances are you’re experiencing this same disruption and its adverse impacts.
The solution is to improve your work-life balance, and you can start by adopting the Pomodoro Technique: Set an alarm at 30- or 60-minute intervals and work uninterrupted until the alarm rings. This will let you accomplish more, schedule regular breaks, and keep you from working past your shift. Critically, you’ll need to minimize distractions like social media, too, so you can be more focused and efficient. Then, set aside time to take care of yourself and your family, do the things that make you feel happy, and get some sleep and relaxation.
Create an ergonomically sound workspace
The aim of ergonomics is to design a workspace that would fit the user’s physical needs so as to prevent injury and ensure maximum comfort. Ensuring these two means eliminating common stressors, like body pain, fatigue, discomfort, and musculoskeletal misalignments or disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. This is why you must design your workspace such that it fits your body’s needs and makes you feel comfortable. And since you’re likely sitting a lot, you should start by investing in an ergonomic chair, as sitting in one will support your posture, and reduce your risk of back and neck pain.
When choosing the best ergonomic chair for your workstation, consider one that can adjust to a wide range of heights so it will suit yours. In addition, make sure it has an adjustable seat pan, backrest, and armrest so you can find the most comfortable position. Next up, invest in an ergonomic keyboard for maximum wrist and arm support and reduced risk of repetitive stress injuries. Just make sure that it can be re-angled to your liking, and that it has a well-padded wrist rest for comfortable typing. With these changes, you eliminate common stressors that will compromise your mental health when they accumulate.
Seek professional help Another survey reveals that 92% of Indian professionals prefer talking to robots about stress and anxiety. According to Emily He, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud HCM, this is due to the “stigma associated with mental health” which makes people uncomfortable talking about it with others. Exacerbating the situation is the belief that humans are not only quick to judge, but also ill-prepared to deal with mental health concerns.
Even so, it is still best to consult with a professional. That’s because they are trained to carefully assess your situation, and recommend long-term solutions to make it right. So, when choosing the best mental health counsellors, look for those affiliated with reputable organizations. Make sure, too, that they offer a range of solutions and holistic therapies that will take into account all aspects of your life — including the challenges you’re facing working from home.
Adhara Kohli is a working student freelancing as an online lifestyle writer. She is also an aspiring guidance counselor currently conducting research about the mental health effects of prolonged work from home arrangements.