Remote working can bring many benefits - but it's important to also be prepared for any potential negative effects on your wellbeing.
Working remotely can allow you to skip the time-consuming and stress-inducing daily commute. You might also save costs by working from home and have more flexibility in your schedule.
However, in moving away from an office environment, remote workers may experience feelings of isolation and struggle to maintain a work-life balance. This can, in turn, have a serious effect on wellbeing.
Remote working can affect wellbeing in two main ways:
- Loneliness – this can increase stress levels and bring a sense of disengagement to both your work and the University itself, both of which negatively affect your emotional wellbeing.
- Burnout – it can be easy for work to seep into your personal time. You may often work longer hours and feel that you have to contribute more as you aren't in the office. This can lead to high-stress levels and ultimately burnout if left unresolved.
How to maintain good wellbeing?
1 Establish boundaries between work and personal time
When you no longer have the physical break that is leaving the office and commuting home at the end of the working day – it can be difficult to separate work and personal time. Try to start and end work at the same time when working remotely that you would if you were on campus.
2 Have regular one-to-ones with your line manager
You should have regular one-to-ones with your line manager, whether this is during your time on campus or remotely. You can use this time to discuss your goals and progress, any struggles you may be having, and any development opportunities you would like to take advantage of.
3 Set realistic goals and deadlines
You need to have realistic goals and deadlines regardless of work location so that you do not become stressed and disengaged. Work with your line manager to create SMART objectives that are stretching but not unrealistic. Consider your strengths and weaknesses and make it clear that you will speak up if you are struggling with the goals or workload. In the modern, agile University we are trying to create, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting goals if they become outdated or need revision.
4 Take regular breaks
Sitting at a desk, in front of a computer screen for many hours a day takes a toll on your focus, motivation, and physical health. Get up and take a break from your desk every so often. Maybe set an alarm to remind you to stretch your legs. Ten-minute breaks aren’t too much to ask, and when you return you are likely to have much more motivation to continue and perform.