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How Does a Primary Care Physician Stay Sane When Working from Home?

8 Tips to Make the Most of Home-Based Telehealth Jobs

Many primary care physicians work from home. The benefits of this include a better work/life balance, no commuting, and being available when the family needs you. On the flip side, you risk overworking, distractions can be infuriating, and the isolation can be overwhelming. As a healthcare worker, you have the added pressure of dealing with people who may be seriously ill with little time to live.

With all these pressures, how do you stay sane as a primary care physician working from home? With a 2017 United Nations report concluding that 41% of people working from home reported high stress levels, compared to only 25% of those in a traditional workplace, it’s a question you must answer.

Here are our top tips to help you get the most from a home-based telehealth career.

1.    Have a Dedicated Workspace

Set up a separate room as your office. Make sure that the door is shut when you are working. Put a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door, and make sure your partner or relative has the kids.

Structure your office so that it has plenty of natural light and that it is purely for work. Hide away any distractions. Kit your office out with an ergonomic desk and chair to ensure your physical health is maintained as well as your mental health.

2.    Structure Your Day as a Workday

Set a routine for your day. Your office may now be only 30 seconds from your bedroom, but that doesn’t mean you should fall out of bed into work.

Have a morning (or evening) routine that eases you into work. Take regular breaks to help keep you fresh, stretch your legs, and re-energize your brain. Schedule admin work when you do it best. A few minutes of downtime at regular intervals during the day acts as a pressure valve – make sure you take them.

During your breaks, get away from your desk. Go and have a coffee in the kitchen. Take the dog for a walk. Do a little exercise. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is not related to work.

3.    Set Boundaries

As well as the physical boundary of your home office, you’ll probably find that you need to create boundaries for friends and family. It’s easy for others to think that they can call on you at any time because you now work from home. These end up being annoying disruptions. Ensure that people understand that when you are at work, you are at work. You are not to be disturbed except in emergencies.

4.    Touch Base with Colleagues Daily

As humans we are social creatures. At work we can have ad hoc catchups at the water cooler, in the canteen, while walking along a corridor. The primary care physician working from home doesn’t have these little luxuries. Therefore, these opportunities to connect must be engineered.

Set a regular timetable to catch up with colleague for a virtual coffee break. You should also communicate regularly with you manager and take part in team meetings.

5.    Get Out of Your Home and Socialize

Make time to socialize with your friends away from your home. Schedule a regular meet-up. Go for a pizza. Visit your favorite sandwich shop for lunch with your best friend. Make sure your work doesn’t overtake your social life – and be proactive and deliberate about this.

6.    Consider Meditation

Meditation can be a great way to relax the brain. There are many apps that you can use. A few minutes of meditation each day can help you remain calm and remove built-up stress from a busy workload.

7.    Compartmentalize

Working in healthcare, the patients you care for, the families you must liaise with, and the situations in which you find yourself are often more stressful than in any other occupation. You deal with life and death every day. If you cannot let go at the end of a shift, this stress alone can have a highly negative effect on your mental health.

Learn to compartmentalize. It’s not easy to do, because you are a caring person. But taking patient issues to bed with you will not help you get the sleep you need to perform at your best the following day. This is another reason why it is so important to set aside time to relax and socialize – to spend time with people who will ‘take you away’ from work – physically and mentally.

8.    Don’t Be Nervous About Asking for Help

If you start to feel down, if you have feelings of loneliness, don’t hesitate to reach out to your colleagues or support team. There is no one who understands the potential stress of working from home in telehealth as another telehealth practitioner. Shared experiences lead to shared solutions. Advice from other primary care physicians is like a sprinkling of magic dust. This will ensure you reap the benefits of working from home as a primary care physician without fear for your sanity.

To learn more about the incredible opportunities to maximize your work/life balance as a primary care physician, contact Telehealthgigs today.