Promoting psychological well-being while working remotely

Promoting psychological well-being while working remotely

Working remotely, previously professionally taboo, is now the new normal for many (Diab-Bahman & Al-Enzi 2020). While working from home can provide several benefits such as increased family time, saving on petrol and other travel expenses, and avoiding the dreaded peak hour commute (Ipsen, Van Veldhoven, Kirchner & Hansen 2021), what happens when the honeymoon period of remote working wears off and you start to experience the downside of working from home?

Kotera & Correa Vione (2020) identified four main ways remote working can negatively impact a person’s mental health:

  1. Isolation and loneliness due to difficulty maintaining social connections.
  2. Increased stress and anxiety due to lack of structure, support and feeling pressure to be constantly available while not receiving regular feedback.
  3. Difficulty disconnecting from work and establishing boundaries, blurring the line between work and home life.
  4. Higher levels of fatigue and poor sleep quality (see also Kohyama, 2021).

Below are some things you can do to protect and promote your psychological wellbeing while working from home, to combat these risks.

  • Actively make time for social connections and interactions virtually with colleagues and in your own time after work and on weekends (Ivbijaro, Brooks, Kolkiewicz, Sunkel & Long 2020).
  • Set boundaries between your work and home life. This may include setting regular work hours, taking set meal and rest breaks, clocking off at the same time where possible every day, and avoiding over-availability (Karanikas & Cauchi 2020).
  • Have a designated work area and appropriate workstation in your home where possible (Xiao, Becerik-Gerber, Lucas & Roll 2021). Avoid working from your dining table, bed, or couch, so you don’t associate those areas with work (Bloom, 2020). In a related vein, dress in work clothes and implement rituals to activate an “I’m at work” mindset and reinforce your work-home boundaries (Fonner & Stache 2012).
  • Attempt to get outside each day or add some greenery to your workstation. Natural environments have been shown to provide benefits for mental health and have restorative properties, so try to get out for a daily walk or consider adding a houseplant to your workstation. (Interested in this tip? Make sure you check out next month’s blog post where we talk about the impact of nature on creativity and cognitive function!)
  • Engage in regular physical activity to release endorphins and other positive hormones to benefit physical health and mental well-being (Chekroud, Gueorguieva, Zheutlin, et al. 2018), so consider taking a few minutes to do a few quick squats or a lovely lunch time walk.
  • Implement morning and evening rituals and routines to ensure you are getting enough quality rest (Memon, Shaikh, Mirza, Obaid, Muenjohn & Ting 2022).
  • Seek help if needed. If you’re beginning to feel isolated, stressed or anxious, consider speaking to a medical professional. Many workplaces offer free counselling for their staff by way of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – reach out to your supervisor or HR to find out what support services may be available to you.


Pearson, D. G., & Craig, T. (2014). The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments. Frontiers in psychology, 1178.

Karanikas, N., & Cauchi, J. (2020). Literature review on parameters related to Work-From-Home (WFH) arrangements. Queensland University of Technology. QUT Health.

Fonner, K. L., & Stache, L. C. (2012). All in a day’s work, at home: Teleworkers’ management of micro role transitions and the work–home boundary. New Technology, Work and Employment27(3), 242-257.

Chekroud SR, Gueorguieva R, Zheutlin AB, et al. (2018) Association between physical exercise and mental health in 12 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Psychiatry, 5, 739-746

Kohyama, J. (2021). Which is more important for health: sleep quantity or sleep quality?. Children8(7), 542.

Xiao, Y., Becerik-Gerber, B., Lucas, G., & Roll, S. C. (2021). Impacts of working from home during COVID-19 pandemic on physical and mental well-being of office workstation users. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine63(3), 181.

Ipsen, C., van Veldhoven, M., Kirchner, K., & Hansen, J. P. (2021). Six key advantages and disadvantages of working from home in Europe during COVID-19. International journal of environmental research and public health18(4), 1826.

Ivbijaro, G., Brooks, C., Kolkiewicz, L., Sunkel, C., & Long, A. (2020). Psychological impact and psychosocial consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic Resilience, mental well-being, and the coronavirus pandemic. Indian journal of psychiatry62(Suppl 3), S395.

Kotera, Y., & Correa Vione, K. (2020). Psychological impacts of the new ways of working (NWW): A systematic review. International journal of environmental research and public health17(14), 5080.

Diab-Bahman, R., & Al-Enzi, A. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on conventional work settings. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy40(9/10), 909-927.

Memon, M. A., Shaikh, S., Mirza, M. Z., Obaid, A., Muenjohn, N., & Ting, H. (2022). Work-From-Home in the New Normal: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Employees’ Mental Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health20(1), 48.

Bloom, N. (2020). How working from home works out. Stanford Institute for economic policy research8.

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