What Happens To Your Brain When Working From Home: Explanation + Actionable Tips

Written by Domantas Vanagas

August 13, 2022

Working from home is the pinnacle of work-life balance for many people. They are delighted to finally have the opportunity to strike a balance between the comfort of their home and the hours they give to their employer. Some people even find it to be the kind of thing they can’t give up once they have it in their grasp. It makes people want to know what working from home does to your brain. Now, there are millions of people working from home who previously didn’t, and it is worthwhile to consider what kind of results this may yield for them.

What Working from Home Does to Your Brain

While much of the focus on work from home has been about the positive benefits for employees, such as the reduction in travel time, we cannot forget that there are some potential drawbacks to consider.

  decluttering brain and lfie

There have been more consideration about what working from home does to the brain. Some people are concerned that keeping themselves away from others may be a little more isolating than they had initially considered. The isolation can have negative impacts on their brain. Remote working may make it easier for those prone to mental disorders to see an escalation of their symptoms when working from home for a prolonged period of time. 

Your Brain on Isolation

Here is a scary fact of the day: Isolation can physically cause your brain to decrease in size.

Some people have been forced into long periods of isolation and have experienced symptoms resembling Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. This is not to say that a day or two alone will suddenly cause you to experience all of this. However, there is a possibility that a prolonged period of isolation may make it more likely that one will experience some of the negative impacts of isolation on the brain. If you have been wondering what working from home does to your brain, this is certainly one of the consequences.

woman thinking about her time management style

Human beings are social creatures, and we seek out interaction with other people. Face-to-face contact is what we have evolved to look for, and seeing other people over a Zoom call or something similar doesn’t cut it for most people. They need to engage with one another and connect in that way. When we are left to our own devices in our homes for prolonged periods, it can be highly isolating and virtually impossible for us to continue growing in the ways we need to function properly.

The brain itself can begin to decay if it is not often stimulated with social interactions. Sadly, this may even lead to the development or acceleration of diseases of the mind and the rest of the body. If you need to know what working from home does to your brain, this is one of the sad consequences that you could face.

Video Meetings Effects on Your Brain

One of the things that people don’t particularly care about working from home is just how many video meetings they are expected to engage in. It can happen so easily, and the usual social cues and avoidance techniques that one might have used before are no longer of any value to them.

woman is in a meetin while working from home

It can damage the brain and one’s ability to get work done in the ways that they would like to when they don’t have the ability to break away from social interaction when they want to. Some employees may even begin to feel very overwhelmed and unable to carry on with the jobs and tasks that they have been assigned. It happens all the time, and it is worth noting that this kind of reaction is completely normal and possible.  

Flexible Work From Home Affects

There are both positive and negative effects of having a flexible work-from-home schedule. However, the drawbacks are what we need to focus on at this time. What working from home does to your brain is not always bright and cheerful. They include: 

  • Loss of structure – Some employees need the structure that working from the office brings them. They may lose that routine when they are on a flexible work-from-home schedule. 
  • Unclear objectives – It is not always so clear what the objectives of each employee are when they are working from home instead of coming into the office. Without a sense of structure to their day, it is common for people to get off-task.
  • Less motivation – A drop in motivation level from those working from home is not uncommon. They don’t have someone looking over their shoulder to ensure they are getting their work done, which allows them to stray from the path. 

All companies need to consider these potential drawbacks before deciding to implement a work-from-home system. 

Poor Distinction Between Responsibilities

It is often the case that people who work from home have a less formal structure than those working from the office. As such, it is easy to slip into a mentality of stacking more and more work on top of people who are already working too hard as it is. 

Another issue that people frequently run into is trouble with being given too much work to deal with on their own. Sadly, some employers will take full advantage of this and do everything in their power to squeeze even more work out of people who are already doing a lot to keep up with the workload they have been given.  

Work from home can quickly become something that turns into working around the clock 24/7 for those who are not very clear about where the lines need to be drawn. This kind of work ethic is often applauded in the short run, but it is a bad idea to work this much in the long term. It leads to burnout and other negative impacts, and no one wants to find themselves dealing with that. Remember, this is one of the consequences of what working from home does to your brain. 

Work from Home Creativity

Here is something to remember about working from home and what it may mean for your creativity. You may have the chance to enjoy a little more free time to think about problems from a new perspective. If that is the case, your creativity may skyrocket when you work from home. 

The possible loss of one’s creative edge is a downside to work-from-home setups. Creativity may be lost because people are not around others who may also have some great ideas. The loss of creativity and being able to share ideas with other people is something that should not be overlooked or brushed aside. 

employees brainstorming in the office

Workplaces that do decide to allow employees to work from home should at least try to make sure that they leave room for people to get together sometimes to collaborate and work through the problems that they may encounter when working on a project. It may also be fun to consider virtual reality (VR) options to enhance creativity and encourage employees to work on teambuilding and other similar skills.

3 Tips to Save Your Brain While Working from Home

1. Change Your Environment

You can do yourself a lot of good by ensuring you change your environment from time to time when working from home. This could mean doing something as simple as looking at potentially going to a library or other public place where there is Internet access. You may also stop by a coffee shop to help yourself be around others as you finish your work. Whatever the case, a change of venue from your home base is a great way to make sure you keep your mind healthy and active when working on what you need to work on. 

2. Take Your Breaks

Trying to be the superhero and get everything done at work only works for so long, and then you have to give in to the reality that you cannot possibly carry the entire load by yourself. You can and should admit that there are times when you need to take a break for the sake of your mental health. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and you should try to capitalize on your breaks when you get the chance. It can be the kind of recharging moment that you need to get things set straight again. 

3. Connect With Others Working From Home

You may find some kinship in working with others working from home. People sometimes find it easier to connect with others experiencing the same things as they are, and this is often the case for those working from home. If you would like to connect with others who are also working from home, you should take the time to make those connections. It can help you with your mental health by sharing your struggles and the kind of challenges that you expect you may have to deal with going forward. No matter what, it is a great way to get in touch with people of a similar mindset to yours.

Conclusion

There are some great things about working from home, but we shouldn’t look at it as purely upside. Some people are struggling mightily to get the kind of relief they need even from work from home life, and we need to recognize that what they are going through is legitimate as well. People should take the time to consider all the positive and negative factors of working from home when they get the chance. 

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