Mental Health Effects of Working Alone

One of the least talked about hazards in the labour force are the dangers and ill effects of lone working.

Safe Work Australia highlights how working alone or remotely increases the risks that workers must take on. This is because many lone working roles come with poor access to emergency assistance.

And while plenty has been done to further workers’ rights, there are still improvements that need to be made to better protect our lone workers. One aspect that needs to be addressed is mental health. Lone workers have suffered adverse effects due to the solitary nature of their jobs. But before we can start discussing the changes that need to be made, we must first further our understanding of the topic. Read on to know more about how lone working has negatively affected our workers’ mental health and how we can mitigate it moving forward.

Social Beings

Let’s start with the most obvious drawback of lone working: loneliness. Humans are social beings and should be treated as such. The Center for Workplace Mental Health details that loneliness is a factor that affects all working adults, which goes to show how widespread the issue is even in traditional working setups. And while this is true for the everyday office worker, it’s especially true in the case of lone workers who spend long periods of time without human interaction.

Being devoid of social interactions can create a toxic work environment that could have dire results in both the worker’s performance and, more importantly, their health. This is why the WA’s Guidance Note Working Alone lists a procedure for regular contact is non-negotiable and should be at pre-determined intervals. By setting this up, the lone workers are not left by themselves for extremely long periods of time, allowing them to recharge by having facetime with other people.

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Overall Wellness Matters

Employee wellness has been the talk of the town in the landscape of the modern workplace. Many companies nowadays have invested in employee wellness by adding a gym or serving healthier food at work. However, wellness isn’t always about the incentives that a company can give. Pain Free Working highlights how a healthy work environment goes beyond these things (although they do help). Which is to say that it isn’t enough to just take care of someone’s body, you also have to take care of their mental wellbeing.

This applies to lone working due to the fact that it’s rarely their physical and health needs that lag behind. Lone workers are often compensated well for the work they do, as the job itself is both physically and mentally taxing. However, it’s important to also turn your attention to their other needs. A great way you can address this issue is through online therapy. Health Direct notes that online therapy can be an effective way of helping people who can’t make it to physical sessions but have access to a computer or a smartphone.

Isolation and Physical Health

Because of recent events, we’re now all too familiar with the feeling of isolation. And while the mental and emotional effects are well known, isolation can also affect your physical health as well. The Guardian notes that long term isolation increases the risk of premature death, which becomes especially worrisome given the fact that working alone is already a risk in itself.

So how do you get around this problem? Well, our WorkSafeGuardian app comes with a slew of safety features that’ll help your lone workers out in case they find themselves in a pinch. With features such as welfare check-in, safety and medical alerts, and location monitoring, the app will surely help cover some of the risks that come with lone working.

Written for worksafeguardian.com.au by Missy Mitchell

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