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Missing out on office banter, feeling unable to communicate properly via video and calls, and finding it challenging to manage the new work-life balance are all factors which contribute to unease and happiness. And 42 percent of those polled by Vision Direct have been struggling with their mental health more than usual in recent months. While 20 percent also found their physical health has suffered as a result of rarely leaving the house.
Just as light was at the end of the tunnel, and a return to the “new normal” seemed possible, new government restrictions mean those who can work from home, should.
But half of all workers say these new rules, while understandable, have made them feel more downbeat than ever before.
Dr Becky Spelman, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic and EMDR Practitioner, said: “It is understandable that people are feeling low. We’re not just still dealing with a frightening pandemic, but also with the onset of the winter months.
“The world can seem a less friendly place when it is dark and cold outside. In the summer, long walks out of doors—with or without friends—were a real lifeline to most of us.
“The prospect of being restricted at home, without even the option of doing something fun outdoors, can be hard to bear.
“Some people love working from home and flourish, but for others, the social isolation can be extremely challenging.”
The study also found just one third of workers were happy or excited to hear they could remain at home working for the foreseeable.
Of the remainder, 22 percent have not enjoyed being at home over recent months and 34 percent really need a change of scenery.
As many as 43 percent of adults fear they’ll feel increasingly gloomy as the winter months draw in, with one fifth not looking forward to the prospect of looking out of the window at bleak weather.
Being able to talk to people is a huge factor for 47 percent, who miss seeing others and having easy conversation.
Over the last few weeks, many were looking forward to embracing what appeared to be the “new normal” and returning to the office, albeit part time.
Going back to the workplace meant feeling part of a team again for 48 percent, while 39 percent said it made them feel more human.
Almost one in six workers said they had already started to sleep better at the thought of going to work, and 25 percent felt it was already better for their mental health.
But now, 51 percent feel they have nothing to look forward to.
Dr Spelman added: “In terms of regulating your mood while continuing to work from home it’s all about balance.
“Staying at home means that people have less variety in their lives and ways that would have automatically boosted your moods before.
“For instance being in the office with colleagues, going for work drinks, participating in work related recreational activities and just moving about while commuting are no longer possible for many people so we have to be far more creative in our approach and more conscious about scheduling things to ensure we obtain a work/life balance that keeps us feeling happy.”
However, of those polled via OnePoll, 58 percent did try to find ways to cope with working from home, in a bid to keep spirits up.
This included a walk before work (41 percent), small breaks away from the desk to make tea or stretch (54 percent) or popping the TV on in the background (24 percent).
For those struggling with the new reality of staying at home for a bit longer, Vision Direct have joined Dr Spelman to create a guide on how to cope.
Christine North, the human resources manager at Vision Direct, said “Understandably, for many, the novelty of remote working is starting to wear off.
“With the recent implementation of new restrictions, a sudden shift in season and plans to return to office life completely on hold, taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing is now more important than ever.
“In particular, maintaining good eye health while working from home is essential given an increase in screen-time and the constant struggle to ‘switch off’.
“As winter draws closer, play, as well as work is also likely to be centred around digital devices, placing a greater strain on your eyes and potentially damaging your vision.”
“To effectively cope with your screen-facing and socially-distanced work schedule over the next few months, Dr Spelman’s guide offers simple mechanisms to put in place.
“Paired with eye care tips from our in-house optician, Yannick Roth, you can make this unprecedented time, a more positive experience.”
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