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Remote Work, Mental Health and Neurodiversity

Erika Heidi on November 18, 2019

We often talk about remote work as a perk to make working more comfortable and convenient, but there are important aspects that are often ignored i... [Read Full]
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Great post, I can definitely relate to this. Seemingly innocuous situations like someone dropping by with a non-trivial question can be a challenge at times. If I haven't had a few minutes to think about it, I think my responses are lackluster. The added pressure of the other person staring at me and waiting for my reply doesn't help and causes anxiety. There is this feeling of needing to give a complete and correct answer. Deferring the conversation is difficult when the person is standing there and you feel the need to help that person.

If I receive a message with some background information, have time to skim over it and jot down some notes, then talking about it goes much smoother. I'm more confident in the information I'm providing and the other person gets a better response.

It can be difficult in the workplace because others may enjoy having casual, impromptu meetings. I'm more into getting my thoughts organized and being prepared for a meeting. I think everyone could benefit from preparing for meetings, even if they are extroverted and like to talk things out.

I have used work from home days to get a mental break from these types of situations. For me, it is more productive overall. It takes a little time to think and formulate my thoughts, but I think the outcome saves a lot of everyone's time. It also reduces the mental strain of having to jump between conversations, meetings, emails, and anything else that comes up. I'm able to understand and think about the problem before offering my thoughts. Since I'm more confident in my answer, I'm able to close the book on it in my head and not worry that I did not provide the right information.

 

You nailed it, that's exactly how I feel! Having just a bit of time to prepare can make such a huge difference to me. Otherwise, it's really a shot in the dark, I usually go "listen-only" mode in these situations.

 

There's also an element of privacy that is super relevant for many folks. You don't often think about it, but being free to not worry about "how they're seeing you" can definitely free up more mental space and make you more productive.

 

I love your take on this article, and I must say I have a very similar experience, being introverted and needing time and space to perform properly. I feel like my brain absorbs and processes an excessively incredible amount of inputs from the world, to the point of being literally overwhelmed in certain situations (I find your backpack comparison very fitting). Being able to work remote, on my time, with a space I can control, benefits myself and my output immensely.

 

Yesss I also feel overwhelmed by world inputs sometimes, I remember that since I was a kid. I also believe that working from home lifts off a weight of how you present yourself to others, which for some people might be heavier than for other people. This is not purely appearance, but also face-to-face interactions with everyone in the office space.

 

I really liked your text and I identify with some parts, especially the giant backpack analogy. I worked totally remotely for two years and had a positive experience in the early months, but over time things changed and I got to the point that if they didn't allocate me a shared workspace, I'd probably have to quit my job. The feeling of not really being part of the teams was horrible, I always knew things later, didn't share decisions directly, and often felt inferior in recognition and performance compared to my colleagues. Over time, being alone daily in my room was also horrible. I had bouts of depression and panic syndrome, and in therapy I found that loneliness became a very serious trigger for me. I had horrible crises until I realized that my lifestyle and working relationship needed to change dramatically. Maybe I will be working remotely at some quieter time in my life, I still see many positive points in this working model.

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