May 28, 2024

Mental Health Tips for the Digital Workspace

Mental Health Tips for the Digital Workspace

Discover effective strategies to maintain mental health while working in the digital space. Learn how to combat burnout, anxiety, and isolation.

Written by

Michael Gavin

Digital Advertising Specialist

With the rise of work from home due to unforeseen circumstances we’ve also seen the rise of digital workplaces. 

With these workplaces turning digital, we’re seeing a disconnect between work and personal life – they’re becoming blurred. Many of us now face challenges to our mental health because we spend so much time in front of our screens. 

Today, we’ll walk through common mental health challenges associated with those working in the digital space and provide some feedback you can run with to maintain your mental health.

Understanding the Digital Workspace

The digital workspace has no set definition. For some it’s just their computer – no meetings or anything like that. For others, it is meetings via Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft teams, etc. Digital tools however, no matter what you define “digital workspace” as, tend to be the primary means of communication, task completion, and social connect. 

Since the global pandemic many businesses have adopted this digital workspace trend and there are no signs it’s slowing down. More companies are embracing flexible work agreements. With these agreements come some personal disagreements. One of those is the blurred line between work and personal life. When your home becomes your office, it can be challenging to switch off and relax, leading to stress and eventual burnout. 

Common Mental Health Challenges in the Digital Workspace

Isolation: Loneliness is something you’ll feel when you begin to work remotely. Without daily interactions with your team that typically come naturally in an office-space, all of these feelings can easily creep in. This lack of social interaction can significantly affect mental well-being.

Burnout: Digital work leads to an “always-on” nature of life. This constant connectivity can lead to burnout, characterized by chronic stress, exhaustion, and a decrease in work performance.

Anxiety: Virtual meetings, emails, and digital communications can contribute to anxiety. The pressure to respond quickly, the fear of missing out on important information, and the lack of non-verbal cues can make digital communication more stressful than face-to-face interactions.

Sleep Disturbances: Extended screen time, especially before bed, can disrupt sleep patterns. The blue light emitted by screens interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, making it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Strategies to Maintain Mental Health in the Digital Workspace

Routine and Structure: A daily routine can help you sustain a sense of normalcy. Set work hours and stick to them. Include activities that also signal the beginning and the end of your workday, such as a morning coffee or a meditation post-work. 

Breaks and Downtime: Take breaks. Not only will it help you mentally, but short breaks can also improve productivity. Some people recommend techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique, which is when you work for 25 mins and then take a 5 min break. 

Physical Activity: While it’s good for physical health, getting in regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost energy levels. 

Digital Detox: Time away from the screen is key. Read a book, plant some flowers, or spend some time outdoors on a hike. Even if it’s just for a few hours, a digital detox can improve your mental well-being. 

Ergonomic Workspaces: Invest in a good chair, adjust your monitor to being eye-level, and make sure you have great lighting. A well-kept and well-designed workspace can reduce physical stress and enhance productivity. 

Takeaways: 

While we can’t just up and change where we work in order to better our mental health, we can take certain steps in the direction of improving our mental health in the digital workspace. By understanding the challenges you may face and then taking strategic steps of improvement, you can create a healthier environment. This would be a good time to note that taking care of yourself mentally not only benefits you physically, emotionally, and mentally, but it’ll also put you ahead of everyone else in terms of productivity and job satisfaction. Put your self-care first, stay connected, and don’t hesitate to seek help when needed.