The recent pandemic gripping the whole world has put most industries and even economies in a downward spiral. This has made working from home an ideal alternative for big businesses. In the Philippines, our confirmed number of COVID19 cases has already breached the 4,000++ mark. This is expected to shoot further up as mass-testing is being rolled out in most areas in Luzon.
This health crisis served as an effective litmus test as well for the operational capabilities of most Philippine companies, especially in Luzon. The challenge is that most of the big businesses in the country are in Luzon. The business hubs in NCR are hit as well. This pushed the management of these businesses to immediately look into the viability of a work-from-home set-up for their operations albeit skeletal.
The quarantine orders for most of the big cities and even provinces going on lockdown has proved to be a battleground of sorts as operations did their best to equip their people with the tools they need to work from home. This did not only refer to the computers they need but more importantly, access to often proprietary tools they needed to accomplish their tasks. But in this mad dash to continue operations from home, one important aspect was left out – mental health issues that this can bring to employees.
Mental health issues are a real thing
It seems trivial to think about mental health when paired up with working from home. This is because a lot of people have this perception of a carefree, peaceful, often relaxed atmosphere when you work from home. However mental health issues can manifest at any given time even if you now working from the comfort of your own home. Though there are a lot of them, here are are some of the most common ones you need to know about.
- Anxiety – this is brought about by stress or the feeling of being apprehensive about what is to come. This can make you feel nervous and in severe cases, lead to panic attacks. One of the possible causes of this is because some work-from-home engagements are not as secure as working in an office. There are times when an employer will just end a contract without any advanced notice.
- Depression – perhaps one of the most talked-about and most misinterpreted mental health issues at present. Technically speaking, this is a mood disorder that induces a persistent feeling of sadness. As a result, it affects the way you behave and think which can ripple out to other physical or emotional problems. Do note that it has to be a “persistent” emotion. Being sad over one small and passing instance might not qualify as depression.
- Eating disorder – this is one of the mental health issues that you might not readily diagnose as a lot of people working from home do tend to eat a lot. Seriously speaking, it becomes a disorder when you already have unhealthy thoughts and feelings about food and even your body shape.
Tips to address these mental health issues while working from home
Now that you have an idea about some of the most common mental health issues that can come up, here are some useful tips that can help you manage this problem.
- Create a routine – probably the most underrated tools you have at your disposal. You have to understand that people are creatures of habit and if you are working from home for the first time, your new work schedule will be different from what you have been used to in the past. What you can do is to incorporate as much of what you were doing before= into your new routine. Make it a habit to still take a bath in the morning. This will do wonders for you and your loved ones. Eat on time and if possible, do it on your dining table and not on your desk. Look for and create a new routine you can rely on while you work from home. This gives you a certain sense of calm in knowing what you will do next.
- Manage your information intake – you might not notice it but as the days pass by, you might be glued to your phone on your table or even listening to the tv on your background. This is to try and keep up-to-date with the latest developments about the pandemic. Remember that you do not have to know all the numbers as they come in. Unless it is part of your job, you can look at the summary at the end of the day. Guard the information you consume so you can manage your emotions better.
- Maintain good practices – to help you manage your mental health better while you work at home, you can include in your routine some good daily practices. To begin with, do not put aside the huge importance of starting your day in gratitude. This can be a prayer where you acknowledge that everything you have comes from God and in knowing that He will never forsake you can help you get through the day with fewer worries. It also helps if you can get up from your chair and do some home exercises or just open a window and let fresh air and sunshine in.
Working from home and working through mental health issues can be overwhelming but it is not an impossible task. As Rich Handler, the CEO of Wall Street Investment bank Jeffries said, “The world sucks right now my friends. We will get through this and the sun will shine once again. Stay strong. Stay healthy. Help those in need. One day at a time. And remember, you can accomplish anything you put your mind [to]!”