Psychologist breaks down mental-health effects of working from home

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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For people across Kansas, it's been several weeks of working from home and for many, that comes while trying to juggle home schooling on top of it.

From counting down the days until the office re-opens or enjoying the relaxed work environment at home, a psychologist tells us about the mental health effects of working from home.

“We don't know what's happening next week or in two weeks or next month, and most of us don't like that," said Dr. Paul White. "One of the big issues is sort of the instability of what's going on out there and so it creates a sort of overarching anxiety or angst.”

Dr. White is a psychologist who just finished a research study of 50 people across the country to find out about the challenges people are facing working from home.

“Most of the communication going on is work-related and if you only talk about work it sort of denigrates down to feeling like just a production unit and I'm only concerned about getting things done,” said Dr. White.

During those conference calls, Dr. White suggests making an effort to talk to co-workers about personal topics like the switch over to home schooling while telecommuting, or being home alone.

And, it's important to try and take care of yourself.

“Those who had less anxiety did some very basic things like get adequate sleep, eat healthy, get some exercise, take breaks, do something fun occasionally and stay connected,” said Dr. White.

The positive feedback Dr. White received at the end of this study was that people enjoyed the commute-less workday and spending more time with family. He says he wouldn’t be surprised if occasional telecommuting becomes a new normal.