User Icon callStrip

Is Working From Home Bad for Mental Health?

Learn about the best mental health tips for working at home.


Working from home is commonplace nowadays, with both employees and employers enjoying its benefits. However, some people experience depression and anxiety symptoms when working from home, a side effect of increased isolation, stress, and poor work-life boundaries. How does working from home affect mental health? And how can you prevent anxiety and depression when working from home? We dive into these questions and more in this article.

Ever since COVID-19 swept the nation, more and more people have been working from home to a mixed response by employees and employers. What was a matter of public safety became a question of productivity. Despite some employers' hesitancy, working from home does improve productivity. The flexible scheduling, autonomy, and lack of commute time give workers more time in the day. Proximity to family and friends and a greater sense of control increased employee satisfaction and happiness, a known factor in productivity. 

However, there is another side of working from home that is starting to raise concerns. How working from home affects mental health has been a matter of debate since 2020, and the answer still isn’t totally clear. Is working at home good for your mental health? What is the effect of working from home on your wellbeing? Let’s dive into the answers and get some helpful tips to improve your mental health while working remotely

Create a quiet, clean space

Not everyone has the luxury of a home office, meaning a lot of people are working from beds, couches, and dining room tables. We already know that doing things like watching TV from bed makes it harder to fall asleep, and that’s because your brain correlates physical location with activities. An office is a workplace. A bed is a place for sleep. The couch is a place for relaxing. When you start to mix those things—like using your couch and bed to work—you’re more likely to be less productive and have higher levels of distress. You’re fighting your brian’s nature. 

Instead, when working from home, create a clean and organized workspace. It could be a desk, or it could be a setup that you take down every night and set up in the morning. For example, you could have your computer and a mug, planner, notebook, and pens that are only to be used during work hours. Bring them all out to as neutral of an area as you can, like the dining room table, and get to work!


Remote working likely isn’t going away soon. With high rates of productivity and improved happiness for employees, it can be a great option for many people. However, it’s not without its risks. With the increased isolation, longer work days, and less refined boundaries between work and life, working from home can cause mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It’s important to take care of your mental health when working from home. Fortunately, there are plenty of small changes we can make to make remote work healthier and more accessible. 

For any questions, or to schedule an appointment, give Lifebulb a call today. 

Talk to us


See a professional therapist.

If depression and anxiety symptoms persist after making lifestyle changes, it’s worth it to reach out to a professional therapist. It’s possible you have an anxiety or mood disorder that simple lifestyle changes won’t fix. Don’t worry, both anxiety and depression have very high recovery rates and are very treatable through talk therapy or medication. Lifebulb offers depression therapy and anxiety therapy. Give our team a call to learn more. 


Create a second space (and then a third).

You may have heard the saying that everyone needs a “third space”. The idea is that people have their first space (home), their second place (work), and that they need a third space to hang out, relax, and be themselves. For some people, that’s the gym, a coffee shop, an artist studio, a library, or even a friend's house. But for people who work from home, they no longer have a second space, much less a third. 

While you don’t have to get out of the house and work somewhere else every day, it can be beneficial for your mental health to get out of the house more. Make an effort to find your favorite spots in your area and visit them three or four times a week. 


Walk around.

Studies show that taking 5-minute walking breaks every hour increases energy and boosts mood. Working from home makes it easy to sit in your seat for hours on end—it’s so much more comfortable than an office chair! But sitting for that long isn’t natural. Exercise is a known deterrent for depression and anxiety, and even small amounts of it help. Help your brain out and go for a short walk around the house every hour. 

Take mini breaks.

When you work from an office, you naturally take breaks all the time. A coworker walks by and you catch up. You walk to fill up your water bottle and chat with your boss. You heat up your coffee and start talking to your desk neighbor about their weekend. These small breaks all make the 8-hour work day more bearable. But when you’re working from home in front of a computer all day, they stop happening. Instead, substitute them with small stretching breaks, call your family, or go outside and feel the sun.

Meal prep, and take your lunch break!

One of the biggest drawbacks of working from home is the lack of accountability. Although work productivity is generally higher when working remotely, that isn’t the only thing you need accountability for. Taking breaks, especially a long enough lunch break, can be difficult when it’s just you and your dog. Make sure to eat lunch and snacks throughout the day to keep your energy and brain functioning at a maximum.

Get ready for the day.

We know how uncomfortable jeans can be, but make it a habit to at least get partly ready for the day. Your brain will thank you for taking the time to slowly wake up instead of jumping into work and demanding it be productive. You could even just change out of your pajamas into sweatpants if you’d like. You don’t need to do a full face of makeup, but washing your face will help you wake up.

Schedule video meetings when possible.

Humans are social creatures, and our work environment used to be a big source of our connection. To maintain good mental health when working from home, schedule video meetings where you can chat with your coworkers. Alternatively, talk with your friends over video on your lunch break or virtually body double with other work-from-home employees. 


Is working from home good for your mental health?

The short answer is: it depends. One study found that working from home increased happiness by 20%. They also found that about 27% of the cumulative happiness someone experiences is due to their happiness at work. So, that 20% happy boost that employees who worked from home got had a massive positive impact on their overall well-being. 

However, other studies point towards correlations between working from and depression and anxiety symptoms. So, which is it? Is working from home good for your mental health, or bad?

Set Boundaries

Working from home often involves a greater need for boundaries. You no longer have the social constructs that bound you during the office. While this can feel like a great amount of freedom, it’s also a ripe time for people to press in on your boundaries, quickly stealing your time and energy. 

Set boundaries at work—make it clear you won’t be answering emails after hours or working late. Be communicative about your workload and what you can handle. 

Set boundaries at home—Working from home can mean you’re surrounded by loved ones. Family, kids, and pets can all add enjoyment and companionship to your day. But they can also be demanding of attention. Set boundaries around your working hours. Many people with a home office implement the door rule: if the door is closed, I’m busy. If the door is open, you’re free to come in and chat.

Create a Schedule

As nice as it is to roll out of bed five minutes before you’re supposed to clock in, that type of routine can quickly set the pace for depression while working from home. Instead, treat your work from home like you would any other regular office job. Get up and have a morning routine—maybe it’s walking the dog or reading a book or simply washing your face and eating breakfast. Then work until a scheduled break—maybe you have to run an errand or you take a lunch break while calling a friend. Then work until your work day is over. 

Don’t work late! If you wouldn’t work late in the office, don’t work late at home. While there are always those late nights no one can avoid, if you make a habit of working late instead of following a schedule, you’re more likely to develop depression and anxiety symptoms.

Mental Health Tips for Working From Home

Working from home is a new age in employment. We’ve gone from being around others in a collaborative environment for 40+ hours a week to being alone in our room, sometimes even our bedroom. It makes sense that our bodies and minds haven’t adjusted.

The research on working from home having a positive effect on mental health is strong. However, so is the research pointing to anxiety and depression symptoms. It’s important to protect yourself by implementing healthy coping strategies. 

A few mental health tips for working from home include:

Work from Home Anxiety: Symptoms

  • Feeling on edge or nervous 
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions 
  • Chest pain/tightness
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Sense of impending danger or doom 
  • Racing thoughts 
  • Trouble sleeping 

If you experience the above symptoms and think you may have anxiety and/or depression, reach out to a licensed therapist. Talk therapy is very effective in treating anxiety and depression and can help you recover.

Work from Home Depression: Symptoms

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Low energy
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
  • Feeling unable or unwilling to leave the house 
  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Wanting to cry 
  • Changes in eating

Working from Home and Depression

There have been reported increased risk for depression and anxiety when working from home. This is likely caused by a number of factors, including: 

  • Isolation from coworkers
  • Blurred boundaries between work and home life 
  • Dirty, cluttered, or unclear work environment at home
  • Sedententary for 6+ hours 
  • No accountability for taking breaks 
  • Lack of lunch and snack breaks 
  • Higher pressure to perform productively 
  • Easier to work late and start earlier
  • No change of scenery 

It’s worth noting that mental health rates have been rising across the board in recent years, so the link between working from home and depression and anxiety symptoms may be influenced by overall rising mental health issues.

Still, it’s important to be aware of anxiety and depression when working from home. If you recognize these symptoms, reach out to a mental health specialist for help.

Pros and Cons of Working from Home

work from home

Studies have found that 27% of people who work from home find it harder to balance work and family responsibilities. Nearly half report not spending enough time with their children and 40% report wishing they could spend more time with their partners. On top of that, 30% feel disconnected from their colleagues. 

However, job satisfaction increased as commute time decreased, and when given the choice to work from home or go back to the office, most people opt to work from home. 

A recent study tried getting to the bottom of working from home and mental health. They gave 1,576 people a survey asking them to rate their mental health. The people were split into three groups: office employees, hybrid employees, and work-from-home employees. 

The survey found that those who worked in a hybrid position had the highest reported positive mental health. 37% of those who worked from home reported negative mental health. This is slightly better than the 46% who reported negative mental health when working in-office but is a ways off from the only 13% of hybrid workers who reported negative mental health. 

It turns out that the healthiest working position isn’t working from home or in the office: it’s both. 

Hybrid working combines the freedom of scheduling and increased autonomy of working from home with the face-to-face interaction of in-office work. 

Unfortunately, working hybrid isn’t possible for many people. Read on to learn more about mental health tips for working from home and how to make the best of your working situation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

 Working from home can have its challenges, and it's important to be aware of the potential impact on your mental health. The blurred boundaries between work and personal life, feelings of isolation, and increased stress can all contribute to negative effects. However, with proper self-care and support, working from home can be manageable and even beneficial for your mental well-being.

Working from home can affect mental health in various ways. The lack of social interaction and the feeling of isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and decreased motivation. Additionally, the increased pressure to be always available and the difficulty in setting boundaries between work and personal life can cause stress and burnout. It's crucial to prioritize self-care, establish routines, and maintain regular communication with colleagues to mitigate these effects.

 To stay mentally healthy while working from home, it's important to establish a healthy routine, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care. Maintain a designated workspace, establish a structured schedule, and take regular breaks throughout the day. Stay connected with colleagues through virtual platforms and seek support when needed. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as exercise, hobbies, and mindfulness practices. Remember to prioritize your well-being and seek professional help if needed.

 Yes, Lifebulb offers therapy for depression and anxiety. Our compassionate and experienced therapists specialize in providing evidence-based treatments for these conditions. We believe in the power of therapy to support clients in managing and overcoming their symptoms. Through a personalized approach, we strive to help individuals develop coping strategies, explore underlying issues, and empower them on their journey to mental well-being. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for support and guidance. Together, we can work towards a brighter and healthier future.

Related Blogs