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Mental Health in Work From Home - A Challenge Beyond the Blue

Mental Health in Work From Home - A Challenge Beyond the Blue

Posted By HealthcareOnTime Team Posted on 2021-10-22

Work from Home Culture Goes Mainstream
As the world scrunches down to alleviate the spread of the novel Coronavirus, office has shifted home for several employees and the remote working population is going to rise as the pandemic aggravates.

Mental Health in Work From Home - A Challenge Beyond the Blue

So how is it going? Isn't it boring? What difference does it make anyway?
Here goes what people really love about working from home
Work can be done almost anywhere, as long as you get the desired result
No more dealing with traffic, beating against the red light, waiting for buses and trains, stealing the cab rides, and facing weather storm while heading to work
Saving more money-imagine cutting down on clothing, transportation, food and being able to cram down any choice of food and not sticking with the boring canteen menu
Being able to maximize work time and spend some quality time with family All the struggles of gridlock and jeopardy put to an end !

Of course, anybody would like to work in tranquility, where everyday feels like a day-off right? But let's understand, something that seems as easy as pie, isn't always that way.

After spending 8 weeks in his bedroom hunched over a laptop, just close to where he slept blurred into endless week, Rahul started feeling trapped, depressed, and isolated. The pre-COVID life felt like a myth to him. At first, he thought it was because his job was demanding, but later he realized it was because of not being able to interact with people.

His desk had become a prison to which he was chained for minimum 8 hrs a day. Sitting with his laptop everyday, he was struggling to decide where to begin his work from. He had gone weeks without socializing, only talking over the phone or exchanging emails with his co-workers.

But, as the weeks were turning into months, he could predict his permanent decline. He finally reported this to his employer, who helped him get mentally healthier by arranging some employee engaging activities and focusing on rebuilding his routine.

The initial months of lock-down saw every employee working from home while limiting the potential exposure to virus, retaining productivity, and cutting the groundwork cost. It was much later that the cracks began to show.

Although, work from home is not a new concept to many, it poses several challenges when the entire company is working remotely. Remote working does not seem to hit the productivity, but after a year or more, reversing the remote work practices would be challenging.

We, human beings are social animals which makes it difficult for us to survive the isolation that work from home offers. Restriction on travel, social life, no exchange of ideas, mutual trust, and friendship has left many of us feeling isolated and in low spirits.

Since, most employers are expecting a long-term shift to work from home practices, employees are struggling to find work-life balance and have been grappling with stress and loneliness which can get serious in later days Getting to grips with these mental health issues will be a key challenge to overcome in the next few years.

Everybody has bad days, but stress, anxiety, and depression from remote working can make everyday bad.

Downside of Working from Home
Working in Solitude When people feel isolated it becomes challenging to form support which is essential for good mental health.

Increased Workload Adapting to work from home can contribute to increasing workload. Working for longer hours makes it difficult to stay motivated.

Unspoken Challenges While women continue to juggle with their personal and professional life, work from home has especially added to their burden. Earlier women took care of the household responsibilities before leaving for work. However, now they have to combine work with domestic chores and take care of the entire family at the same time.

Unhealthy Lifestyle Apart from social isolation and loneliness, binge eating, and lack of movement also tops the list of challenges with work from home. With endless video calls, people are likely to sit at their desk most of the time, occasionally moving back and forth to the kitchen to grab some snacks. The work space now looks more like a dining room, compelling indications of lifestyle diseases.

Effects of Lack of movement, increased inactivity and sedentary lifestyle
Progression of disease and worsened symptoms
Poor cardiovascular health
Decreased physical capacity and fatigue
Increased mental stress
Poor quality of life

Future of Mental Health in Work from Home The future of work from home must no longer revere to long working hours, but instead recognize our well-being and mental health. "Let's not stress but work smarter at home.

New Normal Post Pandemic Restoring Hope & Benevolence
As more and more people get vaccinated and we resume our life with the "New normal", let us walk down the memory lane, back to the days when the world was not a dystopia as it appears today. A world where the people did not eye you suspiciously if you touched your own face, or went out in public without a mask. Just like that, a virus merely 120 nanometer small, changed the world one touch at a time, losing the sense of normalcy.

For a reason that we were put on lock down unheralded in the mid of March 2020, this stretch felt like no other in our contemporary history. From avoiding handshakes to limiting social gatherings, we had to readjust our lives nearly overnight and transition into this new way of living. Notwithstanding the fact that the world is unlikely to return to that magnitude of habitualness, it's undeniable that the pandemic has reshaped the world in many ways.

Firstly, the Beauty of Self-reliance
Over the years, our house felt like a hotel room where we would come in just to eat and sleep. We forgot the significance of our own home that we so carefully created for ourselves. In this pandemic, the first luxury most of us got cut off from is the house helper. We have backtracked to the basics, our survival skills sharpening up once again. We have started becoming self sufficient in cooking, washing, cleaning our homes and surroundings. This is making us more humble as we connect with our roots and relearn selfcare and selflessness in its raw form.

Gratitude and Survival As we walk towards self-reliance, we have become more sensible of our surroundings and less of a robot. We have realized that at many levels, this time is about gratitude and survival. Gratitude towards everyone who has helped us in making our lives more convenient and manageable - from drivers to house helpers, from watchman to milkman and the front line workers- the true heroes who have gone beyond the limits to keep us safe. Unfortunately, it took something as gruesome as a pandemic to figure this out.

No Place for Bigots The experience of going through a pandemic was obviously not easy for anyone, irrespective of the occupation, finance, or family circumstances. We all have had faced challenges before, both in personal and professional life. But the pandemic has brought everyone to a level and equal ground, with no room for the oppressor and the oppressed. Everyone is being schooled by the virus, irrespective of their money and power.

Not to forget Hygiene & Preventive Care Hygiene and sanitation has become a priority for all of us. We now take special care to improve our hygiene practices and are more inclined to build a strong immune system using herbs and decoctions that have been passed down through generations rather than relying on supplements. These hacks that seemed to be lost are now finding their way back into our lives.

We have started realizing the significance of the pharmaceuticals and preventive health care, and research in this area. The pharma industry is taking an opportunity to speed up production of vital drugs/vaccines and raise awareness among the masses about the preventive and curative aspects.

Going Online!
Online schools and virtual learning is giving an opportunity for more people to have unhindered access to education. Physicians have started offering online consultations and follow-ups. COVID-19 has forced every businessman to shift some part of their business online to have a better reach. This pandemic is a testament to see how resilient we are as humans and our ability to be flexible and creative while facing uncertainty.

Survival of the Fittest
However, with positive changes in life, this pandemic exerted influence on our mind too. An era of evolutionary process has been set back to its starting point by a mere virus in a span of few months. It is a trait that is engraved deep in our mind due to fundamental law of the universe - Survival of the fittest. This crisis, like a big mirror is revealing the real us. COVID is indicating us that the fight for survival can make us easily lock ourselves up from the world, both physically and emotionally, turn ourselves into not just the centre of the universe, but the universe itself.

Ironically, once the fear of pandemic recedes, people will rearrange their world again, trying to get closer to those they are trying to shun, exhibiting traits they have dropped. So, tenants will be welcomed back, doctors will be next to divinity again, house helpers and migrants will become a necessity and funerals will yet again see a large mass of mourners.

Embracing the Change
This is the time for extraordinary change, and we have to rapidly adapt to the evolving situation. Sustainability is the keyword that deceives its due here. Like an unruly substitute teacher nobody asked for, this pandemic too has left us with many lessons since last year. It has taught us that life is priceless and fleeting. We have understood that this time is not about how much our business grows, the new places we travel to or the great experiences we have. It's about health improvements, career choices and revisiting our thoughts. To find gratitude every day in how much we have, despite the challenges, compared to so many that are suffering right now. It is also about understanding that we have everything we need to get through this and come out stronger on the other side.

We should be obliged that this pandemic has taught us the true meaning of life and its purpose, reminding us of what we are, deep down to our bones. However, the question still remains
Will the "New normal" implement the lessons this unexpected tyranny has taught us


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