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How To Effectively Deal With "Working From Home" Guilt

Understanding and working through your feelings helps.

The coronavirus pandemic has made many changes for many individuals across the globe. A big part of that may include flexibility when it comes to your job. 2020 made working from home the new normal for most people. Although a good deal of employers have since established a hybrid work situation, many companies are transitioning their employees back to the office full-time.

According to an October 2021 survey released by The Future Forum, executives were yearning to go back to the office on a full-time basis (44% of them, in fact), although employees weren't quite as enthusiastic. Only 17% of employees revealed they'd like to go back to the office. Another survey of workers in the U.S. shows that 22% of them believe working from home has been "substantially better" than their expectations, and 21.4% noted the experience has been "hugely better" than they thought it would be.

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Related: The #1 Worst Work Habit That's Destroying Your Mental Health, New Study Says

Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn, psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer at LifeStance Health shares her thoughts with us on how to effectively deal with "working from home" guilt.

If you're among the group that's dreading the physical return to office life, know that you're not alone. On the one hand, you may enjoy only commuting from your bed to your desk, and/or you may feel more productive working from your home office. You may also feel much more comfortable and safe remaining at home, with the coronavirus still a prevalent part of daily life.

On the other hand, according to Dr. Patel-Dunn, some people may want to go back to the office for a variety of reasons. Perhaps what's going on in someone's home life can make them feel the need to escape to a different environment during the workday. Some may be longing for in-person, social interaction. Others may feel their team is much stronger or more productive when cranking out ideas together in person.

Not everybody is going to be on the same page with this one. Some employees are looking forward to getting back to a regular routine at the office because that's just more comfortable for them, Dr. Patel-Dunn explains. Others, not so much. It's important to remember that whatever you choose should not make you feel guilty. Dr. Patel-Dunn stresses, "[Guilt] doesn't need to be another emotion added to what is a tumultuous and challenging time for all of us."

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According to Dr. Patel-Dunn, confiding in a therapist is always a smart option when dealing with inner conflict. A professional can help you address the situation effectively, whether it's to guide you through a smooth transition back to the office or work out your feelings for not wanting to.

"Therapy is a confidential, safe space that you can be honest in," Dr. Patel-Dunn explains. She adds, "You could frame the question as, 'I'm struggling because I feel guilty about not wanting to go back into the office because I know my boss wants me to, and I struggle with that conflict.' This is exactly what therapy is supposed to help you with—connecting the dots of why you do things a certain way. For example, if your guilt is stemming from your tendency to be a people pleaser, therapy can help you overcome that."

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Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more
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