The first coping technique for isolation concerns the adjustment of the working space in such a manner that mostly resembles offline conditions (Galanti et al., 2021). This approach will mitigate the differences in the psychological and physiological aspects between the offline and online environments (Suppawittaya et al., 2020). As a result, people feel less disconnected from conventional working habits and less isolated. Consequently, emotional support is essential during these periods; therefore, the employee should seek out psychological assistance or emotional support from friends. Furthermore, people who feel isolated or lonely should seek professional help and advice (Savitsky et al., 2020).
Some of the remote work challenges, such as irregular working hours, the uncertainty of a new role, and lack of occupational safety, are particularly harmful to people’s mental health and the capabilities of social interaction (Luttik et al., 2020). From these considerations, obtaining emotional support is an effective coping strategy (MacIntyre et al., 2020). Among the potential methods of emotional support, offline social interactions are most beneficial to employees’ mental health (MacIntyre et al., 2020). On the other hand, obtaining emotional support via social networking sites (SNSs) has proven to have negative consequences, such as online exhaustion (Islam et al., 2022). While the usage of SNSs might be beneficial to mental health in case of feeling isolated or lonely, employees need to restrict their active online time to avoid SNS exhaustion (Islam et al., 2022). Therefore, the most effective method of emotional support that mitigates the issues of isolation and work balance is real-life social interaction.
According to the research, external assistance is one of the most effective ways to mitigate the mental health problems associated with COVID-19 consequences (Savitsky et al., 2020). This statement is particularly relevant for people who want to maintain a healthy work-life balance but fail to do so. In such cases, the employees should seek professional counseling due to personal initiatives as well (Javadi et al., 2020). Furthermore, the coping strategy of planning is an effective method to structure the workload and, therefore, establish a healthy work routine (Wang et al., 2020). Furthermore, the coping strategy of planning is an effective method to structure the workload and, therefore, establish a healthy work routine (Wang et al., 2020). Ultimately, external support and planning are effective methods of maintaining appropriate work-life balance on the individual level.
The research demonstrates that any change from the accustomed workload might significantly increase stress levels and negatively affect mental health (Brooks et al., 2020). Furthermore, the increased workload has a negative effect on the personal lives of the employees as some people tend to procrastinate during remote work, which results in longer working hours (Wang et al., 2020). From these considerations, planning is effective since it structures the work process and improves self-discipline, which helps moderate the workload (Wang et al., 2020). Furthermore, goal-oriented coping strategies, such as active coping, are highly productive techniques to improve the mindset and adjust to the deviated workload (Park et al., 2020).
Stress is another direct consequence, which affects a large number of people shifting from offline to remote work. Conventional emotional coping strategies, such as positive reframing, self-distraction, active coping, and acceptance, are effective ways to mitigate stress (MacIntyre et al., 2020). Park et al. (2020) have revealed that active coping – an intentional attempt to make a positive change to the occurred situation – has a positive impact on the mental health of remote workers. Another research by Lara et al. (2021) has demonstrated that active coping in association with physical activity is significantly more effective than passive coping styles. In other words, regular exercises, a proactive approach to problems, and emotional support are more productive coping strategies than behavioral avoidance and maladaptive methods, such as substance usage (Lara et al., 2021). Consequently, positive reframing – an approach that highlights the assertive aspects of the situation – also demonstrated good results in coping with stress (Zacher and Rudolph, 2020). Ultimately, conventional methods of dealing with stress are appropriate for people working from home.
Another traditional method to mitigate stress is an acceptance-based coping strategy. Polizzi et al. (2020) demonstrate that this approach changes the perspectives of the employee on the new responsibilities, fears, and mental health stressors. In turn, it makes the individual less susceptible to worries and anxiety, including environmental stressors, such as interruptions from work and family problems, which might occur due to COVID-19 confinement (Polizzi et al. 2020). Having accepted the inevitable changes in work type, workload, schedules, and other factors, the employees become more psychologically adaptable to various stressors. Consequently, scheduling of work time on individual and family levels moderates the number of contingencies and interruptions (Salin et al., 2020). The employee should discuss the work period with their family and establish a policy of minimum interruptions.
Additionally, one of the most effective methods to mitigate stress is physical activity. Regular exercises have a highly positive impact on mental health, and the extensive amount of research has proven the productivity of the approach (Castaneda-Babarro et al., 2020; Dwyer et al., 2020; Maugeri et al., 2020). Most national guidelines on the COVID-19 restrictions indicate additional physical activity as the primary method of maintaining good physical health and psychological well-being (Dwyer et al., 2020). Ultimately, the importance of the approach cannot be overestimated, and it is highly advisable to include regular exercises for remote workers.
Lastly, one of the seemingly practical ways to mitigate stress is mental disengagement via extensive food intake, alcohol, sedatives, and other drugs. Nevertheless, this approach is proved to be ineffective and generally has the opposite results (Savitsky et al., 2020). Alcohol and drugs might suppress depression and anxiety for a brief period of time; however, the recession is associated with significantly higher levels of stress (Chodkiewicz et al., 2020). Ultimately, the research demonstrates that mental disengagement via unhealthy habits, such as alcohol and drug abuse, is an ineffective coping strategy.
Lack of Motivation and Time Management
Lack of motivation and inadequate time management are two indirect consequences that are associated with the shift from offline to remote work. The primary coping strategy for these issues is thorough planning and scheduling of upcoming events (MacIntyre et al., 2020). This approach concerns not only remote work but also advanced financial planning, scheduling of family time/personal time, and other factors that emerge due to the shift to remote work (Brooks et al., 2020; Salin et al., 2020). Therefore, in cases of lower work efficiency, planning is the evident solution to change the working routine and maintain healthy psychological well-being (MacIntyre et al., 2020). Ultimately, planning has a positive effect on both the productivity and mental health of employees.
Consequently, planning has positive implications for motivation and time management. The research by Parke et al. (2018) has demonstrated that daily work planning, including time management planning (TMP) and contingent planning (CP), significantly increase the motivation of employees and increases their concentration despite any potential interruptions. The consequent empiric research by McIntyre et al. (2020) supports this hypothesis, indicating that planning is essential both for remote and offline work. As a result, thorough planning is an effective coping strategy to mitigate decreased motivation and inadequate time management.
The differences between online and offline working habits and necessary equipment might also affect the payment methods. Traditional businesses that operate in cash might have to install contemporary methods of e-payment and educate their employees regarding the peculiarities of remote work (Salloum et al., 2019). From these considerations, people, specifically older adults, unaccustomed to these systems might have significant problems concerning payment methods in the era of remote work and need to seek professional advice in regard to payments.
Feeling of Insecurity
People might also feel insecure due to the little transparency of remote work. The research demonstrates that people tend to apply mental disengagement coping mechanisms, such as detachment from social groups, authority, and colleagues (Bhandarker and Rai, 2019). Nevertheless, methods of emotional avoidance are frequently ineffective and might lead to more severe consequences and feelings of distress (Bhandarker and Rai, 2019). Similar to stress load, the more productive alternatives are positive reframing and active coping.
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