How Neuroscience and Psychology Can Be Used to Improve Work Conditions in 2021 as People Work Remotely?
By now it is old news, how the pandemic has disrupted the norm of work. No one was prepared for the circumstances that were created as a result of COVID-19. The global economy took a nosedive, and many companies were forced to let go of a major part of their workforce and with there being restrictions on operating workplaces, the remaining employees were forced to work from home.
For the better part of last year, work from home has become the new norm. Both employees and companies have found unexpected benefits in the work remotely model. With that being said the remote work model is still experimental for both employees and employers. It takes time to adjust to change and when that change is so rapid and forced, it can have some serious consequences on our mindset.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very significant impact on the mindset of people who are working remotely. When you are working from home you are essentially isolated and with the social restrictions, the feeling of isolation becomes even stronger.
So, how is it affecting the mindset of people working remotely? It may look like that you are doing more by working from home since you are away from all the distractions that you would normally have to face in a conventional office. And that is true to some extent, but this isolation is also…
- Reducing the volume of your prefrontal cortex. This is the area of your brain that is involved with socializing and decision-making.
- Making your hippocampus smaller. This is the part of your brain that deals with memory and learning.
- Affecting the size of your amygdala. This part of your brain controls your emotions.
As you might have been able to guess that none of these things are good. The collective effect of working remotely in isolation is a severe decrease in cognitive abilities and stress dealing capabilities. So, even though working from home has its perks, it also comes with some serious negatives.
But there is a way to deal with the negative effect that working from home might be having on your mental health. We can use psychology and neuroscience to improve our work conditions when working remotely. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you improve your work from home conditions with the help of psychology and neuroscience:
Dress For Your Job
Studies have shown that how we dress has a major impact on how we feel. This phenomenon is called “enclothed cognition”. Our neural pathways are linked to certain emotions depending on what we wear.
When you go to a conventional office, you have to adhere to a certain dress code but when you are working remotely you are free to work in your PJs. It might not be that good of a thing as you might imagine it to be. When you dress for work, you are putting your brain into work mode. So, if you wear a formal shirt when you go to the office doing the same when working remotely might increase your productivity and help you work more efficiently as opposed to working in your sleeping clothes.
There is a lack of disconnection between personal and professional life as there is no physical separation. This can affect your work conditions and your mindset negatively. So, dress for your job before sitting down to work.
Structure and Routine
Your routine and the structure of your day have a significant impact on your work conditions when working remotely. Research has shown that over/undersleeping and not having a fixed routine can decrease your cognitive functioning.
You see our brain tries to make patterns out of everything. This makes its job easier. When you wake up every day at 8 am your brain will automatically know that it needs to be ready by that time to work. But if you don’t have a fixed time to sleep or wake up, your brain will not be able to always be at its 100% for you.
Windows and Light
We have a deep connection with our immediate surroundings. When we are working remotely, our home is our office. The first thing that you need to take into consideration is where you should set up your desk.
Research has shown that the best way to set up your home office is to have your back against a wall and a view of the outside available to you. So, you want to set up your office near a window where there is plenty of light. Environmental psychology has shown that this can really improve the productivity of employees that are working from home.
One More Thought
It’s been over a year now that life has changed dramatically from how we remembered everything to be prior to the pandemic. So, we need to do our best to maximize these new circumstances moving forward.
Working remotely comes with its own set of challenges and struggles but with the help of psychology and neuroscience, we can improve our work conditions dramatically. We just need to make slight adjustments and changes, but these types of changes can make a positive impact in all areas of our lives, both work and home since there is much more overlap now.