Working from home may look like a blessing at first glance, but more and more employees have started to feel the weight of being unable to unplug from work even from the comfort of their own home. Trading in that daily commute during rush hour may have seemed like a dream for many, but the challenges of adjusting to remote work still lingers amongst the workforce.

Deteriorating mental health, and a multitude of stress factors are at the forefront of these concerns, with loneliness and mental distress levels increasing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Without proper guidance, the stress buildup would eventually lead to burnout and not only affect the company but would greatly affect the employees themselves. Though this is a complex issue, these feelings are perfectly normal. Simple steps such as those that follow below can help alleviate these feelings of anxiety and uncertainty and may help contribute to a brighter outlook for an employee’s mental health and productivity while working from home.

1. Organize your work environment

Leaving the office takes away the consistent environment of your workspace. More often than not, employees who start working remotely overlook the fact that they have lost a stable space that keeps them in a working mindset. Setting up an organized workspace in your own home can help you differentiate (both consciously and subconsciously) that the specific space is used purely for work-related activities. Setting aside a corner with all of your work documents and accessories can help you focus on your tasks and keep a professional mindset even when multiple distractions are but a few steps away. Doing this can also help you unplug from work when you’re already clocked out, but we’ll have more on that later.

2. Communicate

Another hurdle employees face is the inconsistency of communication between themselves, their workmates, and their supervisors. Communicating with each other has always been a staple of a healthy work culture that enhances not only overall production but fosters individual growth through the social aspects of work. Nowadays, people are restricted to the confines of their own home for several months at a time, especially in areas where lockdowns are the norm. Having a stable central communication application, or online employee portal such as the one provided by EverythingAtWork, a human resource information system (HRIS) can serve to benefit companies under remote work programs. The ability to communicate easily with people in your work network can go a long way, especially when regular conference meetings are not implemented.

3. Take needed breaks

Another important factor people working remotely need to take into account is remembering when to take breaks. Working nonstop at a regular 9-5 job caused both mental and physical burnout then and doing so will still cause that burnout now. Taking a much-needed breather is a small thing that can turn out to be the best thing you can do in the long run. Take a step away from your workstation during downtime. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to enjoy that cup of coffee. Your future self will thank you for it.

4. Know when to unplug (Work-life balance)

Going back to what was mentioned earlier, remote work can feel like a cage instead of a key to a free-flowing affair. Doing the little things such as allocating space to your workstation and leaving that same space when you’re done for the day can help you unwind after a long day at work. Leaving your designated workspace can help you remember the fact that you are clocked out. Subconsciously, being at that same space even when you’re not working can still contribute to stress buildup. Try to keep in mind that there is a time for work, and there should be time used for yourself. Stick to your set work schedule. Even working remotely, having a good work-life balance should always be at the top of your priority list.

Weighing the pros and cons of remote work can help employees take a step back and re-evaluate their situation. Working from home can be both challenging and rewarding, but it is up to the individual person to figure out what works best for them. Keeping these few pointers in mind can help make your nightmare of an experience into something empowering and beneficial down the line.