In a recent Washington Post piece, Allyson Chiu describes the benefits and downsides of working remotely in the post-pandemic era. In the article, one doctor describes feeling like he had much more control of his schedule—alternating between one week of remote work and three weeks in the hospital. He appreciated having more time with family. Many workers have enjoyed working from home. In addition, some workers save money with less of a weekly commute. But working remotely does have its downsides, as many workers have noted that boundaries can be more easily blurred with a remote schedule. Instead of “clocking out” or leaving the office as the signal for the end of the workday, people are feeling what is known as “workplace telepressure.” This phenomenon refers to the need to respond to every email and work-related phone call, which can lead to an increase in anxiety and poorer sleep. Chiu offers some simple solutions to telepressure, including shutting off your laptop at the end of the workday or setting up an automatic reply that signals to colleagues that a person is done checking emails for the day.
The mental health implications of remote work are mixed, with some sources citing an improvement in mood and anxiety, while other remote workers are experiencing more isolation and are at higher risk for burnout. At this point, workers need to be cognizant of what works best for them and see if their current schedule is helping or hurting their mental health. There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to the mental health side effects of remote work. Take note of how you are feeling and do not be afraid to seek help if you are noticing decreased energy, less pleasure in your hobbies, or more anxiety overall. At CalPsychiatry, our physicians can assess someone exhibiting more anxiety or depression due to work burnout. Call or book your free consultation today.