Impact of Work From Home on mental and physical Wellness

Impact of Work From Home on mental and physical Wellness
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 09-03-2023

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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has altered life globally, transforming how, and even whether, people work. The lockdown and safety protocols made a substantial impact on the employees of both public and private sectors in terms of commute, office hours, working pattern and lifestyle.

This impacted the dietary pattern, sleeping habits, daily working hours, and physical activities of people.

Approximately two-thirds (64.8%) of respondents reported new physical health issues, and approximately three-fourths (73.6%) of participants reported new mental health issues arising since WFH. Two or more new physical health issues were reported by 41.7% people.

Work from home and Employee mental and physical health

A majority (55.1%) of respondents reported experiencing two or more new mental health issues, while one new mental health issue was reported by 18.5% and 26.4% people reported no new issue. Employees reported decreased overall physical activity and exercise, which may have been due to stay-at-home restrictions and overall disruption of individual routines. However, regular physical activity can boost the body’s metabolism and circulation, as well as release endorphins and other happy hormones, all of which are beneficial for both physical and mental well-being.

A delay up to 2 hours in the wakeup time was observed among 52.2% of WFH group, as against 30.0% of WAO group. Bedtime was delayed up to 2 hours in 42.8% of WFH group, as compared to 37.2% of WAO group. About 13.9% of employees were late to bed by 3 hours or more.

Similarly, employee’s perception of their physical activity also changed. The 39.1% of employees in the WFH group reported to have gained weight, while only 29% in the WAO group reported weight gain.

This study suggests that staying at home during the lockdown resulted in altered sleeping and eating patterns, dietary modifications, increased gadget-usage and decreased or lack of physical activity. Sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle, as, a disturbed circadian rhythm may lead to emotional distress.

Employees working from home face both mental and physical problems, which affects the employee s welfare and significantly reduces productivity. A change in the work environment and not being able to maintain a balance between home and work created more issues. Few employees reported physical issues rooting from improper workstations at home. Employees ended up taking on more tasks and worked for longer hours, stating that they were unable to maintain firm time boundaries for work. Furthermore, a lack of support from management to assist the employees in managing stress, resulted in unhealthy ways to cope. This situation creates potential organizational issues such as lower employee satisfaction levels, decreased loyalty, and poor retention. This will have a huge negative impact on the productivity levels in the organization (Baptiste, 2008; Sirgy, 2017).

While remote working was popular before the pandemic, it has now become the norm. This quick adoption of WFH has highlighted the struggle of employees in achieving work-life balance, leading to work stress and increased anxiety. Managers have the responsibility of ensuring that the well-being of the employees is improved because it directly impacts the organization s productivity.

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Xiao, Y., Becerik-Gerber, B., Lucas, G., & Roll, S. C. (2021). Impacts of working from home during COVID-19 pandemic on physical and mental well-being of office workstation users. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine63(3), 181.

Sambrani, S. (2020). Work from home (WFH): a study on the psychosocial impact of the new normal work scenario in the pandemic context for Indian it sector.

Elangovan, A., Eapen, A., Padmapriya, V. M., Nagaraj, J., Kannan, R., Ravi, M., ... & Merciline, D. A. (2021). Impact of Lockdown due to Covid-19 on the Lifestyle Changes of Employees in India: A Cross-sectional Analysis of Personnel Who Work at Office Versus Work from Home. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Health Care13(2), 177-186.

Majumdar P, Biswas A, Sahu S. COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown: cause of sleep disruption, depression, somatic pain, and increased screen exposure of office workers and students of India. Chronobiol Int. 2020; 37:1–10.



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