With Covid cases on the wane, offices are slowly opening up and many of them are adopting hybrid work model. However, many companies mostly IT firms and start-ups are still allowing their employees to choose 100% work from home model. While work from home has its own set of benefits as it saves commute time, prevents exposure to harmful pollutants and toxins, allows flexibility in routine, and may be improve productivity, experts say it takes a toll on one’s mental health in the longer run as the home and work boundaries blur creating trouble in relationships, making the day more disorganised and isolating a person who doesn’t have family and friends to give them company during the day. (Also read: ‘Work from home’ hinders creativity and innovation, claims study)
“As most offices are now opening up or adopting a hybrid model of working, it would be wise to remember the lessons we have learnt from the pandemic when most of us were working from home. While there are definite benefits to working from home, it may also be detrimental for us as the number of daily social connections we make reduces,” says Dr Vinod Kumar – Psychiatrist & Head, Mpower – The Centre, Bengaluru.
The way we worked at workplaces changed drastically with the beginning of the Covid-19 era. While work-from-home model was introduced as a temporary measure, it continued for a longer time than expected courtesy back-to-back Covid waves, and soon people adapted to working in a digital environment without letting their productivity get impacted.
“It was difficult for most at first to adapt to a work-from-home situation, however it grew on many as people got habituated to this way of living,” says Dr Kumar.
With many offices still continuing with work-from-model and people also growing accustomed to it, we wonder how it is impacting our mental health.
Family life getting impacted
“In the first year of the lockdown there was a spurt in reports of couples and families facing relationship issues as most were not used to seeing so much of their family members for such long stretches of time. The rates of disagreements, disputes and fights grew amongst family members. A work-from-home model may not be very conducive to a healthy familial life,” says Dr Kumar.
Blurring of boundaries
Dr Kumar says with the work-from-home model, it is difficult for employees to create an appropriate schedule that ensures a healthy work-life balance and while many overwork themselves, it is also difficult for many workers to focus on work as pressing domestic issues grab their attention.
“There is a distinct blurring of lines between work and domestic life,” says the expert.
Affects social life
“The work-from-home model automatically reduces chances of socialising, increasing a feeling of isolation among employees. For many there is no social connect beyond home. This can definitely adversely affect mental health,” says Dr Kumar.
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