Working from home can be extremely taxing for those that aren’t used to it. Research has found that before COVID-19, 5% of people reported high-to-extreme levels of anxiety – now its risen to around 20%. Since, depression has more than doubled, augmenting from 4% to 10%, according to Mental Health Research Canada. Research often shows the benefits of working from home, but experts are fearing that productivity will plummet because people are working alongside their kids in unsuitable space and no clear ‘office’ hours/days, according to the Stanford Institute For Economic Policy Research. To combat this, Dr. Karyn Gordon is sharing how to create a healthy and suitable work-from-home environment.
Tip #1: Boundaries = Balance
- A key piece to protect your mental health is to have boundaries around your personal space
- Life without boundaries can cause many feelings including stress and anxiety – and a sense that people can never “leave work” or “relax”
- Realize that the first step to protecting our mental health is to start setting boundaries! Just because we are at “home 24/7” – it doesn’t mean we are “available 24/7”
Tip #2: Identify Your Ideal Boundaries
- Think ahead of what you would like your boundaries to be (this may be different for employees, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents)
Example: Setting work-hours from 9-5 pm, working only between Monday – Friday, organizing office space away at home using bins, closets, desks so you are not looking at your work and no work emails or calls after 6 pm
Tip #3: Protect and Voice Your Boundaries
It’s your job to graciously stand up for your boundaries – it is NOT the job of the other person to read your mind. You can voice your thoughts in the following ways:
- Email = “Please note I work Tuesday, Thursday 12-4 pm – I look forward to serving you then!”
- Verbally = “I’d love to help! Just so you know I work between 9-5 so I can do that for you then!”
- Questions = “I noticed that you emailed me at 9 pm – I’m curious are you expecting that I would respond then? I’ve learned that my most productive hours are in the morning so I try to respond to all my emails 8-noon.”
Tip #4: Set Boundaries To Engage and Disengage From Work
- It’s essential for our mental health to engage and disengage from work
- Engage = Ex. Work 9-5 pm
- Disengage = Ex. Put office away, turn off the phone, go for a walk, don’t check email
- When you set boundaries – watch how you feel (more in control, calm, relaxed, focused). Be sure to share these ‘benefits’ when talking with your boss, team, colleagues!
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