Teleworking and mental health risks


Teleworking has revolutionised our daily lives, bringing with it benefits for our emotional well-being such as the possibility of having more quality time with our families. But it has also brought certain mental health risks that we need to be aware of and address.

First of all, teleworking has increased the anxiety of many workers. Working remotely causes stress by feeling the need to always be available, not being able to switch off from work and having to hold a multitude of meetings and calls to organise work. This can lead to burnout, that is, the syndrome of being overwhelmed because of work. In a study conducted by McKinsey, 49% of those surveyed reported feeling burnout.

To remedy this situation, the European Parliament has recognised the right to disconnect as a fundamental right of workers, allowing them to stop attending to professional matters outside working hours. According to Eurofound, people who work remotely on a regular basis are more than twice as likely to exceed the maximum weekly working hours as those who come to the office.

Added to this anxiety about work performance is the feeling of uncertainty that many workers experience, not knowing until when they will have to telework or what model their company will implement when the time comes.

To continue, the second critical point related to mental health is the feeling of loneliness. People who have traditionally worked in teams suffer from this feeling of loneliness, even indifference or isolation from their colleagues. Even people who were already living alone before teleworking have this feeling in the workplace and it is intensified.

So, to protect the mental health of workers, some companies have implemented care and well-being programmes. Similarly, teleworkers themselves must learn to combat their emotional distress. The World Health Organisation has responded to this by creating a document on health and safety in teleworking which contains some recommendations to be taken into account.