Is Working from Home Bad for Your Mental Health?

Home » Mental Health Blog » Is Working from Home Bad for Your Mental Health?

Research shows that there may be a link between working from home and depression. Studies show that remote workers may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can contribute to depression. Additionally, the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life can lead to increased stress and pressure to be “on” all the time, which can also contribute to depression.

But not everyone who works from home will experience depression. Factors such as work-life balance, social support, and self-care practices all play a role in determining your mental well-being. Therefore, it’s important to mitigate the adverse effects of working from home by maintaining social connections, setting boundaries, and caring for your mental health.

Work From Home Trends

Working from home has become increasingly popular in recent years, driven partly by advances in technology that make remote work more accessible and more efficient. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend, as many companies had to adopt remote work policies to maintain operations while protecting employees’ health. Many people embrace remote work and value its flexibility and autonomy.

By 2025, an estimated 22% of the workforce will work remotely. Working from home has many benefits, such as increased productivity and improved job satisfaction. Companies are taking advantage of this trend by offering more flexible working arrangements for their employees.

Working from home has become increasingly popular in the past few years, with 60% of workers indicating they would like to work from home. This trend is expected to continue as more people have the opportunity to try working from home.

But working from home isn’t all positive. It can also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, contributing to negative mental health symptoms. While many people prefer to work from home, they must recognize the downsides as well as the positives.

Pros of Working from Home

There are many benefits of working from home for employees, which is why so many people say they enjoy it and want to continue.

  • Flexibility and More Free Time – One of the biggest advantages of working from home is flexibility. Team members can often set their own schedules and complete their work at times that suit them best. This approach to work can lead to more free time, which they can use for hobbies, spending time with family, or simply relaxing.
  • Independence – Working from home allows team members to work independently and take ownership of their work. Greater autonomy or control of one’s work relates directly to increased job satisfaction. The more satisfied people are with their jobs, the less likely they are to leave a company or even be absent from work. Remote teams also report a greater sense of accomplishment resulting from control of their work.
  • Save Time and Money on Commuting – It’s frustrating to spend an hour or more getting to work before any work is done. It’s even more annoying to fight traffic and crowds at the end of the day to get home. Team members can save significant time and money by eliminating the need to commute to work. It also reduces the environmental impact of commuting.
  • Less Exposure to Illnesses – Even legitimate absences, like those for sickness, cause a loss of productivity. Team members are absent less when they work from home because they’re less likely to be exposed to illnesses in office environments. Not sharing germs with coworkers generally improves people’s health.
  • Create a Comfortable and Safe Work Space – When working from home, team members can create a work environment that is comfortable and safe for them. This workspace can include ergonomic furniture, natural light, and a comfortable temperature. For introverts and empaths, working from home may seem like an emotionally safer option that lets them surround themselves in comfort and focus on work instead of external factors.
  • Better Self-Care Opportunities – Team members have more opportunities to care for themselves when working from home. This self-care can include taking a break when needed, walking, or preparing a healthy lunch. It can lead to improved overall well-being and job satisfaction.

Cons of Working from Home

While the benefits of working from home are numerous, remote work has disadvantages. The longer people work remotely, the more they recognize some pitfalls. They also may experience these negative aspects sometimes but still love remote work overall.

  • Stress, Anxiety, and Depression – One of the challenges of working from home is that it can lead to increased mental health concerns like stress, anxiety, and depression. The lack of social interaction, blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, and pressure to constantly be “on” can take a toll on mental health.
  • Isolation and Loneliness – You may get annoyed by the lack of productivity in the office. It seems like someone is constantly popping in and interrupting your workflow. But these small social interactions are blatantly missing from remote work. Working from home can lead to isolation and loneliness without a traditional office’s daily interactions and camaraderie. It can be incredibly challenging for introverted people who may not go out of their way to create new social opportunities.
  • Pressure to Work Off Hours – “I’ll just log on and do that real quick” is a common refrain for those who work from home. Without the physical separation of a traditional office, it can be difficult to disconnect from work and set boundaries. It can lead to pressure to work overtime or be constantly available. It also can result in neglecting personal responsibilities and leisure time.
  • Setting Boundaries from Distractions – The dog is barking, a delivery driver needs your signature, and your daughter needs her soccer uniform washed before tonight’s game. There’s always something that needs to be done at home. Working from home can be filled with distractions, whether household chores, family members, or the internet. It can be difficult to set boundaries and maintain focus on work tasks.
  • Trouble Concentrating – There’s not much else to do at the office aside from work. But there are plenty of opportunities and loads of desire to do things other than work when you’re at home. The distractions and interruptions of working from home can make it difficult to concentrate on work tasks, leading to decreased productivity and frustration.

Tips for Preventing Isolation

Many people love remote work, but loneliness is one of the most common complaints about it. Remote workers likely spend most of their days alone, only chatting with coworkers online. You can do many things yourself to try to mitigate the sense of isolation you may feel while working from home.

  • Consider Coworking Spaces – A benefit of remote work is that you can work from anywhere. You don’t always have to work at home. Coworking spaces provide a shared office environment where remote workers can collaborate, network, and socialize. Finding a space like this can be a great way to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Connect with Coworkers Virtually – Even though you may not be able to be in the same office as your coworkers physically, you can still connect with them virtually. You can use platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Slack for video conferencing, instant messaging, and other forms of communication.
  • Join a Work From Home Support Group – Joining a support group for remote workers can provide an opportunity to connect with others who understand the unique benefits and challenges of working from home. It can be an excellent way to share advice, tips, and support with others in similar situations.
  • Take a Walk Outside – Walking outside can be a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and a change of scenery. But that’s not all. It also has mental health benefits. Walking outside can help to boost your mood and alleviate feelings of isolation. And, when you return from your walk, the fresh air and exercise will likely make you feel more focused and productive.
  • Grab Lunch with a Loved One – Working from home doesn’t mean your days can’t include a social activity. Make it a point to grab lunch with friends or family, either in-person or via video call, to have some social interaction and a break from work. You would take lunch with your team if you worked in an office. Why not schedule occasional lunch dates for yourself still?

Seeking Professional Help 

Working from home can be a challenging experience for some people, especially if they are experiencing depression. While they may not experience symptoms all the time, it can be difficult to stay motivated and productive when dealing with depression. 

You can enjoy remote work and still have challenges with it. Professional help can provide support and guidance to help you manage depression while working remotely. 

To determine whether you need professional help, consider the following:

  • Assess Your Needs and Goals – Before seeking professional help, assess your needs and goals. What do you hope to get from counseling? What does a positive outcome look like for you? Stopping to consider and answer these questions will help you find a therapist who is well-suited to your specific needs and can help you achieve your goals.
  • Look for Therapists by Specialization – There are many types of therapists, each with their own area of specialization. For example, some therapists specialize in treating anxiety, while others specialize in treating depression. Look for a therapist who specializes in the area that you need help with. You may even ask whether they have experience treating clients with issues working remotely.
  • Browse Therapists by Treatment Therapy – Different therapists use various treatment therapies to help address your concerns and teach you coping skills. Some therapies may seem more your style than others. Browse therapists by treatment modalities to find a therapist who uses the approach you are comfortable with.
  • Interview Therapists with Prepared Questions – Before scheduling an appointment, interview potential therapists to determine if they are a good fit for you. Prepare a list of questions to ask, such as their experience, qualifications, and approach to therapy. Don’t be afraid to keep looking if the fit doesn’t seem quite right. Finding the right therapist for you is the critical outcome.
  • Analyze the Best Fit – Hopefully, you know the right therapist when you talk to them. After interviewing therapists, analyze which one is the best fit for you. Fit will depend on their qualifications, experience, and approach to therapy. You may feel a connection when you talk to the right therapist. But it’s OK to keep looking if you go to an appointment or two and don’t think you’re in the right spot.
  • Track Your Progress – Once you have found a therapist you are comfortable with, track your progress. You’ll likely develop a therapy plan together, so you’ll want to review it regularly to see if you’re getting what you need. If you aren’t, talk to your therapist about making adjustments.

Let All Counseling Help

Seeking professional help can be a vital part of managing depression or other mental health concerns while working from home. With the right support and resources, you can find ways to stay motivated, productive, and satisfied with your work.

Professional counseling and therapy can help you learn how to cope with stress and anxiety, develop healthy coping strategies, and make changes in your life that will improve your mental health. All Counseling provides help to people looking for mental health resources. If you think you could benefit from therapy, All Counseling’s therapist directory can help you find a therapist who is right for you.

Resources and References:

Join The Weekly

Therapist Success Series FREE

Sign up today

Join All Counseling today for FREE!

black woman standing in a blue top