9 Mental Health Tips to Help You While Working Remotely

Remote work and mental health are tightly intertwined. Learn how to take care of yourself and make the most of working from home in this post.

Gabriele Culot
Written by Gabriele Culot
January 24, 2023
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Key takeaways

  1. Remote work offers huge benefits but can come at the risk of increased isolation if not addressed properly.
  2. Learning to prioritize yourself and your needs, and actively promoting this approach, are important steps to ensure your mental wellbeing.
  3. Don't underestimate your mental health. If you are struggling, seek professional help and support.

The pandemic-related lockdowns and the shift to remote work stirred the pot regarding workplace mental health. Many employees gained new flexibility, but this was often weighed down by loneliness.

Both employers and workers were often not fully prepared for these changes and how to ensure they could be leveraged into a positive experience. And as companies now have to choose between staying remote, going back to the office, or adopting hybrid work approaches, employee mental health should be a critical factor in influencing their strategies. 

This post will provide tips and actionable suggestions for remote workers to manage their mental wellbeing and avoid habits or issues that may negatively affect them. While these tips can be helpful to workers in any circumstance, they are explicitly designed around the remote worker experience.

So let’s dive right in and start making remote work work for us!

1. Prioritize communication and connections

Social isolation can strongly impact mental wellbeing. In a remote environment, feeling disconnected from the organization or other team members can be easy, especially when the workforce is distributed over different time zones or doesn’t allocate time to socialize outside of work-related meetings. 

Here are some actions remote teams can take to limit the downsides of not having in-person interactions:

  • Schedule regular team check-ins and video conferences to maintain communication and connection

  • Use collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams to stay connected throughout the day

  • Initiate virtual water cooler activities, such as coffee chats or virtual happy hours, to foster informal conversations and build relationships

  • Participate in online forums or communities that relate to your industry or interests to build a solid network of like-minded individuals

  • Practice active listening during virtual meetings or conversations by giving your full attention and acknowledging others’ contributions

  • Be proactive in reaching out to colleagues to ask questions, seek feedback, or offer support

  • Participate in virtual team-building activities, such as online games or virtual team challenges, to foster camaraderie

  • Share personal updates or interests in team channels to create opportunities for bonding beyond work-related topics

  • Consider scheduling virtual coffee breaks or lunch sessions with colleagues to recreate the social aspect of in-person interactions

  • Seek opportunities for mentorship or coaching relationships within your organization or industry

  • Use video or audio messages to convey complex or sensitive information, adding a personal touch to your communication

  • Practice empathy and understanding in your interactions, recognizing that everyone may be facing different challenges and circumstances

2. Actively manage your work-life balance

While remote work does not guarantee a better work-life balance, it gives workers more control over their time than a physical office does. This offers enormous potential for tailoring the right balance for yourself. Still, it can spiral out of control if you don’t actively shape it.

Here are some easy actions that can help you take control of your work and shape it according to your needs:

  • Establish hard boundaries between work and personal life by defining and sticking to specific work hours

  • Create a designated workspace at home that is separate from your living areas, if possible

  • Set realistic goals and prioritize work tasks to avoid overwhelming yourself with an excessive workload

  • Take regular breaks during the day to recharge and avoid burnout. Use tools like the Pomodoro Technique to structure your work and breaks

  • Utilize time management techniques, such as creating a schedule or using productivity apps, to effectively manage your time and tasks

  • Communicate your availability and boundaries to your colleagues, ensuring they understand when you are and are not accessible for work-related matters

  • Delegate tasks when possible and collaborate with team members to distribute workloads evenly

  • Learn to say no to additional tasks or commitments that interfere with your work-life balance

  • Create a routine that includes time for personal activities and interests outside of work

  • Establish a healthy work-life integration by blending personal tasks, such as household chores or personal errands, into your workday when appropriate

  • Communicate with your family or household members about your work schedule and expectations to minimize distractions and interruptions

  • Set aside dedicated time for socializing and connecting with friends and loved ones

  • Take advantage of remote work flexibility by scheduling personal appointments or activities during non-peak work hours

  • Consider implementing a digital detox by disconnecting from work-related devices and notifications during non-working hours

  • Use vacation or personal days to take breaks and recharge, even if you are not traveling

  • Seek support from your manager or HR department if you are experiencing work-life imbalance or feeling overwhelmed

3. Workers got back(s): Take care of them

Mental health and ergonomics are more interwoven than you might think. High-stress levels and poor physical habits can manifest as pains, bad posture, and other embodied issues affecting your mental wellbeing

Here are some tips to ensure your home office setup is built to preserve your back, your posture, and your mental wellbeing:

  • Invest in an ergonomic chair that provides adequate support for your back and promotes good posture

  • Use an adjustable or standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, reducing the strain on your body

  • Position your computer monitor at eye level to avoid straining your neck and keep a comfortable viewing distance

  • Ensure that your keyboard and mouse are positioned so that your arms can rest comfortably and maintain a neutral position

  • Use a separate keyboard and mouse to avoid hunching over and straining your wrists if working on a laptop

  • Maintain a neutral spine position while sitting, with your back supported and shoulders relaxed

  • Take regular breaks to stretch and move around, promoting blood circulation and relieving muscle tension

  • Incorporate stretching exercises or yoga poses into your daily routine to improve flexibility and relieve any muscle stiffness

  • Use a footrest if needed to support your feet and maintain a comfortable sitting position

  • Position your desk and chair near a natural light source to reduce eye strain and promote a more pleasant working environment

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day to promote overall wellbeing and prevent muscle cramps or discomfort

4. Flex your flexibility

Remote work allows for flexibility in how and when work is done. Not everyone thrives in the traditional 9-5 environment. Up to 95% of respondents, according to the Future Forum Pulse survey by Slack, desire flexibility in their work life. 

Here are some tips that will help you make full use of your flexible schedule.

  • Communicate with your manager or team to understand the flexibility options available to you and how you can best leverage them

  • Identify the times of day when you are most productive and focused, and structure your work schedule around those peak periods

  • Take breaks when needed to recharge and maintain productivity. Use flexible work hours to accommodate personal appointments or activities during non-peak work

  • Explore different work arrangements, such as compressed workweeks or flexible start and end times, to accommodate personal needs or preferences

  • Experiment with different work environments within your home or remote workspace to find the setting that enhances your focus and productivity

  • Leverage the freedom of remote work to work from different locations, such as coworking spaces or coffee shops, to break the monotony and spark creativity

  • Communicate openly and transparently with your team about your availability and any adjustments to your work schedule to ensure smooth collaboration and alignment

  • Embrace asynchronous communication methods, such as email or project management tools, to allow flexibility in responding to messages and requests

  • Set boundaries and establish clear expectations with colleagues and clients regarding response times and availability during flexible work hours

  • Advocate for flexible work policies and share your positive experiences with others to promote a culture that values and supports work flexibility

5. Contribute to building a positive workplace culture

A supportive and inclusive work environment starts with you. Promote empathy, respect, and understanding among team members and coworkers to make your workplace one in which you and other remote employees can thrive.

Here are some actions you can take to help shape your workplace for the better.

  • Foster open and transparent communication by actively participating in team discussions, sharing ideas, and providing constructive feedback

  • Encourage collaboration and teamwork by offering assistance and seeking opportunities to collaborate on projects or tasks

  • Take the initiative to share your knowledge and expertise with others, whether through formal presentations, informal conversations, or mentoring relationships

  • Respect and value diversity in the workplace by promoting inclusivity and treating everyone with fairness and respect

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning by actively seeking growth opportunities, sharing resources, and encouraging professional development within the team

  • Foster a sense of community by organizing or participating in virtual team initiatives, such as charity events, volunteering, or shared interest groups

  • Stay informed and engaged with company updates, initiatives, and goals, aligning your efforts and actions with the vision and mission of the organization

6. Take advantage of development opportunities (personal and professional)

Bettering your skills and knowledge can boost job satisfaction and enhance your mental wellbeing. Flexibility, remote work, and access to endless educational materials online mean developing yourself has never been so easy and accessible.

Reap the mental health benefits of continuous learning with these tips:

  • Take full advantage of online courses, webinars, or workshops to expand your knowledge and acquire new skills in your field or areas of interest

  • Seek feedback from mentors, supervisors, or colleagues to gain insights into your strengths as well as areas for improvement. Use this feedback to guide your personal and professional development efforts

  • Join relevant professional associations, communities, or online forums to connect with like-minded individuals, share knowledge, and access resources for professional growth

  • Seek opportunities for cross-functional or interdisciplinary projects to broaden your skillset and gain exposure to different aspects of your organization

  • Develop a personal development plan that outlines your goals, action steps, and timeline for achieving them. Regularly review and update this plan to track your progress and adjust as needed

  • Set aside dedicated time for reflection and self-assessment to evaluate your progress, identify areas for growth, and set new development goals

7. Keep stress in check

Burnout can occur when workers do not set clear work and private life boundaries. They may work longer hours and take little breaks. Remote workers are not immune from burnout. With fewer connections and a higher risk of isolation, it can be easier to slip into unhealthy behavior patterns.

Without a social soundboard or clear guidance from the organization, recognizing and assessing burnout can fall entirely on the shoulders of the remote worker. Here are a few tips to help deal with stress and recognize its symptoms:

  • Develop self-awareness by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress in your body and mind. Pay attention to changes in your sleep patterns, appetite, mood, or energy levels

  • Regularly assess your workload and commitments to identify potential sources of stress. Prioritize tasks and set realistic goals to manage your workload effectively

  • Take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and relax. Engage in activities that help you reduce stress and unwind, such as deep breathing exercises, stretching, or going for a short walk

  • Communicate with your manager or team about your workload, deadlines, or concerns. Openly discuss any challenges you are facing and seek support or assistance when needed

  • Practice stress-reducing techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or journaling. Incorporate these activities into your daily habits to help manage stress and promote relaxation

  • Take care of your physical health by maintaining a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and ensuring sufficient sleep. A healthy body can better handle and manage stress

  • Practice assertiveness in setting boundaries and communicating your needs. Clearly communicate your limitations and avoid taking on more than you can handle

8. Practice self-care

Self-care can be a broad concept, but you must learn to prioritize it. Understanding what self-care means to you, and adopting behaviors that facilitate it, are the first steps. But talking about it and spreading the word is equally important.

Here are some tips to start ensuring you are your own priority:

  • Prioritize self-care as an core part of your daily routine. Make it a non-negotiable aspect of your schedule

  • Dedicate time for self-care activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. This can include activities such as exercising, reading, meditating, taking a bath, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy

  • Get sufficient sleep and prioritize a consistent sleep schedule. Aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep each night to support your overall wellbeing

  • Nourish your body with a balanced and healthy diet. Fuel yourself with wholesome foods that provide energy and support your physical and mental health. And remember to stay hydrated

  • Engage in regular physical exercise to boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your overall wellbeing. Find activities you enjoy, whether walking, dancing, yoga or any other form of exercise

  • Cultivate a support system of friends, family, or peers who uplift and inspire you. Nurture these relationships and make time for social connections that bring joy and fulfillment

  • Engage in activities that bring you happiness and promote relaxation. This can include listening to music, creating art, playing a musical instrument, or engaging in hobbies that bring you happiness

  • Limit your exposure to negative news or social media that can contribute to stress and anxiety. Be mindful of the media you consume and create boundaries around it

9. Separate work from personal time

While commutes, especially longer ones, are generally considered a direct stressor that can seriously affect mental and physical health, their one benefit is that they provide a hard break between on-site office work and personal time. Ensuring work doesn’t mix with personal life too much is crucial to a successful remote work experience.

Here are some actions you can take to build healthy boundaries:

  • Establish precise work hours and stick to them. Define specific start and end times for your workday and communicate them to your colleagues, clients, and supervisors

  • Create a designated workspace that is separate from your personal living area. This helps to physically and mentally separate your work environment from your personal space

  • Set clear expectations with your colleagues and clients regarding your availability and response times. Communicate your preferred methods of communication and establish boundaries for after-work or non-work hours

  • Avoid checking work-related emails or messages outside of designated work hours unless it is essential for urgent matters. Train yourself to disconnect and resist the temptation to constantly be available

  • Communicate openly with your supervisor or team about your work-life balance needs and concerns. Discuss any potential adjustments to your workload or schedule that could better support your wellbeing

  • Establish rituals or transition activities to mentally separate work and personal time. This could include going for a walk, engaging in mindfulness practice, or engaging in a hobby that signals the end of the workday

  • Communicate your boundaries to those around you, including family members or housemates. Clearly articulate your work hours and ask for their support in respecting your need for uninterrupted focus during those times

  • Regularly reassess and evaluate your boundaries to ensure they align with your evolving needs and circumstances. Be willing to make adjustments as necessary to maintain a sustainable work-life balance

Keep improving your remote work experience with Deel

At Deel, we are big advocates for remote work and the many benefits it can bring to today’s workforce. And we’re vocal about it!

From discovering the countries that offer the best remote work visa schemes to staying up to date with future work trends, to boosting your self-development while working, we create content aimed at improving workers’ workplace experience.

Make sure you stay informed and keep improving your own experience by checking out our blog.

Please note: Your mental health should always be your number one priority. If you’re struggling with your mental health and need support, contact someone you trust or your healthcare provider.


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