Mental Health

Unintended Benefits of COVID & Work from Home on Mental Health

The coronavirus swept the world while we weren’t looking. Yet, we remain steadfast and people adapted rapidly in our own versions of survival mode.

Coronavirus stresses out people mentally and emotionally causing them to feel drained, weary and tired but here is a spin to things. These new perspectives show the good things we have gained from being masked warriors in 2020.

Judge us less for how we work, judge us more for what we produce

Home based offices is a booming topic of 2020.

Employees were exported out of the familiarity of the queasy concrete jungle (a.k.a. office) at the beginning of the year. Still queasy, the coronavirus confined us to the walls of our homes.

Retreating back to our dens (like the bats who spread the Corona!), many of us have elected to make major adjustments to our workstations to seek out the comfortable and the functional. Like the first Wuhan strain, we mutate and adapt to survive.

Whatever works for us at home, as long as we’re not judged for our choices (:


In the past where office furniture is procured and maintained in working condition by companies, nearly every piece of common chair, table and up to the bean bag cushions are standardised or is at least selected by someone else. Individual employees have little say and are unable to show their personality nor express their opinion in the kind of cubicle desks they prefer.

Now that many enjoy the benefits of working at home, many spruce up their work terminals into any format they please, translating into great mental health benefits. From little choices in the furniture they pick and the layout they want, the personal workstation they have translates to increased productivity and potentially quality output. Unlike arranged marriages, we are more at ease with what works for us. Thumbs up for rational thinking!

An employment benefit?

Another unintended plus from allowing employees to continue to WFH despite coronavirus weaning in December 2020 is that employees perceive this arrangement as an added benefit out of their employment and out of kindness from their bosses. (Nope! They’re saving money from office rental, utilities and supplies.)

Without hawks over our shoulders

The flexibility. Tending kids. Even baking or playing PS5 while on clocking in attendance. Not having to commute and squeeze on the buses. Not having to participate in workplace banter, psychological warfare of silence and sidelining unhealthy office politics. Not having to see your boss at all. These discomforts, all gone.

So as long as work is done, no one can judge. No one can control. No one stresses us out.

Placing an order online is happiness in itself

Little do employees who WFH realise that the financial burden of their new standing tables, Secretlab ergonomic chairs and foot hammocks have been at their own personal expense.

Spending my money for your benefit

When we shop online at Shoppee, Lazada, Walmart or Prime, we are intensely focused in picking out what we want. And after checkout, the realisation continues to slip past that the Black Friday sale and extended Cyber Monday promotion back in late November are wholly paid for by us. We miss out on the traditional claims process to recoup our expenses as we are clouded in judgement. By the perceived discounts. By the free shipping. And by the bundle deals, surprise boxes & credit card promotions.

In many ways the desire to shop and spend for what we crave for in our homes are met. When we hit “Place Order”, we fulfil our hunger of the material and the desire of the physical.

Joy comes in phases

These emotional spurts of joy when the order is confirmed, shipped out and arriving forms a positive emotional experience. Eagerness and anticipation. Exciting isn’t it? And yet again – a burst happiness when shopping appears in the mail.

COVID forces everyone to reflect on what is truly important

Every virus now and before COVID is a harsh reminder that jobs aren’t forever. Recessions hits every 4 years or so. Careers are detracted and income is lost. For some, debts mount and unpaid bills means essentials of electricity and water were cut for the poorest in our communities.

We are the sum of all our experiences

The people. At the end of the day when you are poor, lost and helpless, the people that don’t leave you in the worst of times become the best of friends. The most dependable ones.

The money. Having a nest egg, rainy day fund and your secret stash of money comes really handy if your only source of income comes from the biweekly or monthly salary. Some consider reinvesting when stocks dip while others with less financial abilities turn to refinancing their homes to tide over COVID. Government handouts in the year of elections for certain countries can sway votes, but end up being core to enabling parents to feed their kids and buying milk powder for their newborn.

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Family time. Overtime kills the soul and you should spend more time home. With online classrooms, kids stay home with their either unemployed, retrenched (sorry!) or home-based parents. Forcing them into a corner to interact, family time is like chicken soup. Good for the stomach as food and great for the soul as a book.

A stark reminder to us all to rethink and reflect on our lives.

Life is boring when you don’t have stressors

Monotony and repetitiveness we so often complain to our spouses is in fact a luxury. The ability to maintain and support a lifestyle we can afford for in the good times. When corona hit, we lost what we thought were our entitlements. Where in fact the people we have, the money we own and the family time we treasure, are all privileges we earn from fighting hard.

As the folks say, you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it. And when you lost it all, you know who are the people you want to have and keep around.

This post was last modified on December 28, 2020 9:05 pm