How To Overcome The Impact of Remote Work On Mental Well-Being
Striving for remote work success? Use these remote work tips to set healthy boundaries, avoid burnout, and stay motivated and productive.
What’s the impact of remote work on mental well-being?
Return-to-office traditionalists say remote workers are more prone to loneliness, anxiety, stress, and burnout than their in-house counterparts. But research doesn’t back up those claims.
- 78% of teleworkers say remote and hybrid work improved their overall well-being.
- 82% believe the ability to work from anywhere has made them happier.
- Fully remote workers are actually 20% happier than full-time office workers.
- 55% of employees credit WFH for decreasing their stress and burnout symptoms.
These perks may be why 98% of remote workers want to continue working this way for the rest of their careers.[*]
Even though the freedom to choose your workspace is liberating, there are a few challenges of remote work that can affect your mental health.
We’ll show you how to overcome these and share the best strategies for maintaining work-life balance as a remote worker.
What Does Work-Life Balance for Remote Workers Even Mean?
Work-life balance is the ability to devote equal time to your professional responsibilities and personal well-being. Rather than feeling stretched too thin or sacrificing one for the other, work-life equilibrium fosters fulfillment, happiness, and greater productivity.
Unfortunately, when your office space is only a few feet away from your off-space, some remote workers have a harder time:
- Disconnecting from the “always on” mindset
- Staying productive, motivated, and disciplined
- Maintaining focus with constant distractions from emails, Slack messages, etc.
- Taking time off
So remote workers often clock more hours than their in-house counterparts, which leaves less time for social connections, self-care, hobbies, and other activities that spark joy.
Even worse? Those challenges add heaps of stress and pressure to their plates. This is a one-way ticket to remote work burnout.
6 Work-Life Balance Tips for Remote Success
We like you. So we want you to experience all the positive psychological effects of remote work we mentioned earlier. But to score these perks, you must pinky swear to:
1. Find a Personal Work Routine That Helps You Thrive
Learning how to set boundaries between your work and professional life when working remotely starts with creating a daily routine.
These set work hours and rituals add structure and stability to your work days. They also help combat the never-ending workday, which could easily stretch to infinity and beyond.
- Craft a pre-work ritual. One of the best advantages of flexible work is the ability to start your grind when your brain is primed for greatness. So think about what helps you get in the zone — brewing your favorite cup of Joe, doing some light stretching, catching up on the latest industry news, etc. Use this transition time to ease into your day.
- Create your personal WFH schedule. Whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark, stick to remote work arrangements that suit your unique needs and ideal productivity times. Have a definite start and end time. And don’t forget to schedule your deep-focus work hours and block out times for breaks.
- Let your coworkers know your boundaries. Give them a heads-up about when you’ll be signing off, and consider adding your work hours to your Slack or email statuses. Avoid working (including answering messages) when you’re supposed to be off. If you don’t respect your boundaries, no one else will.
- Commit to a wind-down routine. Take 10 minutes to end your work day by setting yourself up for the next one. Write tomorrow’s to-do list, clean up your inbox, clear out messages, organize your desk, etc. Once you hit your official end time, physically and mentally remove yourself from your workspace to draw a clear line between your on/off mode.
- Start taking time off. Remote workers have more unused vacation time than on-premise workers. That needs to change. Learn why it’s important to take time off and use this template to ask for it.
These strategies for work-life harmony will prevent WFH burnout and make it less likely that work spills into your personal time.
2. Set the Right Work Vibes
The right remote workspace is the key to feeling energized, productive, and motivated to get down to business. It also makes balancing work and life outside of it much easier.
- Create a dedicated workspace. Setting up your dream home office or a designated area for your work creates a mental and physical boundary between your professional and personal life.
- Mix it up! Try working from different spots within or outside your home, visit the library or local coffee shop, or explore new co-working spaces. Embracing flexible work locations stimulates creativity and banishes monotony.
- Set the vibes. Not working in the metaverse yet? You can still set up an immersive workspace that inspires innovation and task-conquering. Check out YouTube for ambiance videos to help you focus in new locales each day. Or listen to music for productivity, concentration, and relaxation.
The faster you accomplish your work tasks, the fewer late nights you’ll have to spend catching up.
3. Tackle To-Do’s Like a Pro
Productivity in virtual settings depends on how well you prioritize your work tasks. Cluttered project managers, looming deadlines, and seemingly endless message threads can easily overwhelm your to-do list.
So we suggest you:
- Tackle your hardest task first. Rank your to-dos from the highest to lowest priority. Now ask yourself which will be the most difficult or require the most brain power to accomplish. Start with that one. Knock that out of the park, and everything else will seem easy-peasy in comparison.
- Always break tasks into more manageable subtasks. It’s better to tackle bite-sized chunks of a project rather than the whole thing at once. Plus, your brain will score a dopamine boost each time you finish a subtask to reward, motivate, and make you feel good.
- Quit multitasking. It might seem like you’re doing more in less time, but studies show multitasking often leads to reduced focus and increased stress. So focus on one thing at a time, and give each subtask your full attention.
4. Take Breaks the Right Way
Science says you have to stop taking breaks wrong to be more productive. Research shows breaks are crucial for maintaining focus, maximizing virtual productivity, reducing mistakes, and preventing mental fatigue and burnout.
- Leverage the Pomodoro Technique to keep your brain firing on all cylinders. Set a timer for 25-30 minutes of focused work, then take a 5-minute break when the timer goes off. Repeat this cycle four times, then take a 30-minute break.
- Take active fitness breaks. Physical activity gets your blood pumping and delivers more oxygen to your brain, enhancing your mental prowess. It also counteracts the unhealthy effects of sitting all day at your desk. Sneak in a few downward dogs, squats, dumbbell moves, or brisk walks.
- Find your zen. Meditation breaks are fantastic when it comes to remote work and mental health. Just five minutes of deep breathing exercises or a mindfulness meditation can shift your focus away from remote work stressors. You’ll find beginner to advanced meditations on YouTube, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform.
Rather than scrolling your socials, breaks like these are one of the best ways to avoid burnout as a remote worker, help you recharge, and improve your overall wellness simultaneously.
5. Stay Socially Connected
It’s easy to feel like a lone wolf in the realm of pixels and screens. But communication is the heartbeat of virtual teamwork. To embrace the power of digital camaraderie with your crew, use these remote work tips:
- Always attend team-building activities. Virtual bonding events help strengthen remote team communication and boost morale in a low-pressure setting. Playing online games, meeting for virtual happy hours, and attending workshops together can all improve your work-life balance.
- Meet for one-on-one virtual connections. Video coffee breaks, quick catch-ups, or lunch dates allow you to socialize, relax, let your personality shine, and get to know your coworkers. Stats show that people with at least one friend at work are happier and more productive, motivated, and creative.[*]
- Share your triumphs and challenges. Overcoming virtual work challenges isn’t always easy. So support your crew and celebrate each other’s victories. A cohesive team is built on shared ambitions, mutual support, and honest, open remote work communication.
Remember not to ignore your social life IRL while your work friendships flourish.
Thanks to flexible work schedules and zero commute, nearly 75% of remote workers say WFH improved their family relationships, and over half said it strengthened their friendships.[*] Balance out your remote work life by spending screen-free time with these connections.
6. Unplug, Disconnect, & Practice Self-Care After Work
When the time comes to officially “shut down” for the day, it’s your cue to balance those long hours at your screen with the best mental health and self-care tips.
Self-care rituals nurture your body’s needs and fill your brain’s tank back up. Self-care shouldn’t be something you sometimes enjoy during the weekend; it should be a non-negotiable part of every day.
We think the best self-care routines for remote workers include:
- Setting a digital curfew, which prevents the blurred lines between work and personal time and promotes a healthier work-life balance. Shut down your work devices and leave them in a different room.
- Virtual self-care practices. After your stellar day of remote work performance, you deserve to engage in hobbies and interests you dig. Maybe that’s a virtual book club or yoga class, or soaking in a warm bath with your bestie on speaker.
- Tapping into digital tools for well-being. The top mental health apps for remote workers include Calm, Headspace, and Happify.
- Unplugging from all screens. Connect with the world beyond your screens to rejuvenate your eyes, mind, and overall mental health. Disconnecting also allows you to reconnect with loved ones.
🧘 Find more tips to keep your mental health in check when you work from home here!
Ready To Upgrade Your Remote Work-Life Balance & Mental Well-Being?
Whether you’re thriving as a remote worker from home or balancing life as a digital nomad, there’s nothing more vital to your success than a healthy work-life balance.
Achieving remote work balance ensures you can give 100% to your professional and personal life without sacrificing your relationships, hobbies, or mental and physical health. It staves off stress, burnout, and lulls in motivation, so you can skyrocket your remote career to the next level.
Finding ways to balance your life will always be an ongoing journey. But now you have everything you need to start experimenting and learning what makes your insides smile.
😬 Dealing with a toxic remote workplace? Setting healthy boundaries only works when your company abides by them. If you’re constantly overworked and on the brink of burnout, head to We Work Remotely to find the remote job and work-life balance you deserve!
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