Photo of a work space

Any type of work, whether it is remote or in-person, part-time or full and how one handles it can play a strong role in determining how one’s daily life plays out and how mental and physical health is impacted. When balance and necessary breaks are compromised, work productivity can go down, and so can people’s perceptions of their control and progress. These negative repercussions can spiral into overall unhappiness, which in turn continues to affect overall work output. 

Working smarter, not necessarily longer hours is important in combating burnout that leads to a less productive work pattern. Research has shown that overwork and its negative side effects and consequences can lead to various health problems including depression, diabetes and heart disease. In some cases, limiting work hours can increase output, according to the studies. Balancing work with rest is the first step in a healthy mental cleanse because instead of serving as a one-time activity, it sets in motion an ongoing way of looking out for oneself. Drawing boundaries and working smarter to achieve maximum work in the most productive hours rather than dragging out every task that will eventually pull from one’s rest time is a small, but impactful step that many can take.

Diversions and breaks, exploring nature and performing some types of physical activities are ways that people can put their minds at rest to gear up for another productive work hour or day. Turning to social media and other forms of electronics might not offer as much rest as sitting in a park for some, so learning what one needs to recharge and gain energy is a necessary step. 

For remote work, maintaining this equilibrium is just as important for happiness and productivity. According to a November 2020 study on the mental health effects of working at home, offering organizational support to employees is one way that employers can ensure they are attending to people’s needs. These needs often extend long-term, affecting overall employee wellbeing. In the study people had experienced stress, depression, fatigue and strain among other feelings. Organizational support, colleague support and social connectedness were among those elements that impacted health outcomes. The correlation demonstrates that the more support there is, the more negative consequences can be avoided. When these consequences are prevented, there is a higher chance for contentment at work and success, and less of a chance of decreased productivity and unhappiness. 

Being attentive to the task at hand and focusing on the present moment can also serve as powerful mental cleansing methods. In this way, people would be detoxing their thoughts from distractions, and instead working on one thought or plan at a time. People in the workforce sometimes lack empathy for themselves. They work until they break down or they work while absorbed in several other thoughts and tasks at once. Putting the mind in this chaotic state can dismantle any further chance for organization or success, so being intentional about how to begin and carry on one’s day—for every task, interaction or thought—is valuable.