Shelby Cook, LISW-S
Can Work from Home Lead to Depression?
Image Text: Depression Caused by Working from Home
Alt-text: A work-from-home setup
Image Description: Multiple devices
Working from home has become increasingly common. With the ability to connect to our jobs from the comfort of our homes, it’s no wonder that many individuals are taking advantage of this convenient and flexible work arrangement. However, while it may seem like a dream come true for some, there is a growing concern about the potential negative impact that working from home can have on mental health, specifically in relation to depression.
So, can working from home lead to depression? This question has been raised by many experts in the field of mental health as they observe the potential downsides of this work arrangement. While working from home offers a multitude of benefits, such as avoiding the daily commute and having a more flexible schedule, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Some of these are listed below:
Lack of Routine and Structure
The lack of structure and routine that comes with working from home can also contribute to feelings of depression. Without the external framework provided by a traditional office environment, individuals may struggle to establish a consistent schedule and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This can result in feelings of disorganization, lack of motivation, and a sense of aimlessness.
A lack of structure can also lead to uncertainty and make it difficult for individuals to stay focused and productive. Without set working hours and a clear separation between work and personal life, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of order and stability.
Therefore, it is important for individuals working from home to create their own structure and routines. This can include establishing set working hours, creating a dedicated workspace, and incorporating regular breaks into their schedule.
Development of Depression
Another factor that may contribute to the development of depression in those who work from home is difficulty keeping work and personal life separate. The absence of a commute or physical transition from work to home can make it harder to disconnect from work mentally and switch to personal mode. This can result in longer working hours, increased stress, and a constant feeling of being “on call,” which can be detrimental to mental health.
Lack of Social Interaction
Another primary concern individuals face when working from home is the lack of social interaction. This can have a significant impact on their overall well-being. Without the daily face-to-face interactions with colleagues and the opportunity to engage in casual conversations around the water cooler, these individuals may often find themselves feeling isolated and lonely. Human beings are inherently social creatures, and the absence of regular social contact can take a toll on their mental well-being.
Therefore, finding ways to foster social interaction, even in a remote work environment, is crucial. This can be achieved through various means, such as scheduling virtual coffee breaks or team-building activities, creating online chat forums for informal discussions, or even organizing virtual happy hours or team lunches.
While working from home may offer many benefits, there is a growing concern about the potential negative impact of this work arrangement on mental health. Fortunately, with the right approach and some depression-reduction strategies, you can obtain a lot of benefits from this type of working arrangement sooner rather than later.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2022). Does working at home compromise mental health? A study on European mature adults in COVID times. Retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Information
Etactics. (2022). How to Cope with Depression from Working at Home. Retrieved from Etactics.