REMOTE WORK & CANNABIS USE: The Real Deal
As the COVID-19 medical emergency enters its second year, some people are experiencing emotional fatigue and inner turmoil. People in the United States are becoming increasingly depressed or anxious. Professionals who work from home were not excluded from this mental health crisis, especially those who began working remotely after the lockdowns began in March of 2020.
COVID-19 has caused a lot of people around the world a lot of stress. The tension is most palpable in shared spaces such as grocery stores, airports, and classrooms. Specific guidelines regarding the “Mental and behavioral health issues to consider during the COVID-19 outbreak” were published by the CDC in the first year of the pandemic. In 2021, those recommendations were changed again. 2022 does not seem to be much different, ushering in revised advice following further research and findings regarding safety, precautions, and mental health considerations.
For some individuals who have successfully telecommuted (worked from home), the adjustment may have been minimal. But what about people who didn’t work from home before the big shift, or those who have homeschooled children? Most people have had a hard time adapting to “the new normal”.
There were very few people who used cannabis while at work before the pandemic. It used to be that only a small percentage of the American workforce worked from home and was isolated. Now, though, that may be changing on a more permanent basis than previously expected. American workers are using medical or adult-use marijuana to deal with the stress of the current economical, sociopolitical, and global climate. Of course, this increase in usage across the board begs the question: is it good or bad for their work productivity and mental health?
Is It Better for Introverts to Deal with Socially Distant Work Stress?
We’ve all seen examples of how difficult working from home can be in the news and on social media. It can be a particularly challenging task if you live with a young family that includes children or pets.
During a very important video call, unforeseen events couple transpire that wouldn’t necessarily be possible in an office settings. This can lead to unintended embarrassment and even disciplinary actions.
Of course, most people you speak with will understand and empathize with loud noises and other distractions occurring over the phone or during routine customer support. The people who live and work in separate spaces are also doing the best they can to keep going with their lives and jobs “as normal.” There are new societal standards and limitations – which rely on current precautions and health and safety concerns – that must be kept in a new, ever-changing balance.
Some thought that introverts might do well during the pandemic. People who preferred to work alone initially celebrated the idea of not having to leave their house in order to make ends meet. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of research that indicates introverts are the best people to have in a team setting, however, as they play a pivotal role in maintaining workplace atmosphere. But, there was a new study in Frontiers in Psychology that explored how people think about and interact with the world around them post-pandemic. It was entitled ‘Social Distance and Lockdown: Is it an introvert’s dream come true?’
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert: social isolation will have a negative effect on you, if prolonged. People who are introverts may be more likely to have mental health problems like depression, according to the research study that looked into this.
Clinical studies say it doesn’t really matter what kind of personality you have. Some people may be able to avoid having mental health problems because they know how to deal with stress. The ability to deal with stress in a relaxed and systematic manner is a very high value skill in a corporate setting, but most are still learning how to apply this level of focus at home. Without proper self care and mental health services, this stress can compound and become unmanageable over time.
The Unintended Consequences of the Disconnect & HOW IT AFFECTS WORK ETHIC
Clinical studies currently underway will provide more precise insights, but there are some observations that can be made outside of these pending assessments. According to data from 2020, the pandemic should have been resolved by now, but unfortunately a variety of mitigating factors have stopped that from happening. As the COVID-19 medical emergency enters its third year, more data on how Americans are dealing with the pandemic is becoming available.
Being able to work from home isn’t always as straightforward as some people believe. People who work from home should read Dr. Bryan Robinson’s article for Forbes called “The Future of Mental Health and Career Support for Remote Workers.”
North Carolina psychotherapist Dr. Robinson talks about some interesting findings of people who work from home:
- Those who worked in the office – and not from home – were 3 times more likely to say that corporate culture had dwindled since the pandemic than people who worked from home.
- 92% of people who took a survey said that their workplace culture stayed the same or got better during a pandemic.
- Almost half of the people who took the survey said they felt less connected to their coworkers, and more than a third said they felt less attached to their bosses and managers.
- Most people who answered this question said that the global epidemic had a big effect on how they felt about the people they worked with.
- 43% of people who didn’t work from home before the pandemic said that they don’t interact with their coworkers as much now.
- Some companies try to make their employees less lonely by having virtual socializing events, yet only about 32% of employees who were asked said their company had the “virtual coffee chat” events.
Anxiety Levels Rising Among Americans Working From Home
For the US Census Bureau, the results of a survey on mental health were published in December of 2020. The report said that 42% of people had symptoms of depression or anxiety. That was an 11% rise compared to the previous year.
One of the fears is that the signs of mental wellness strain won’t go away soon. As soon as the pandemic is over, health care experts say that it could be a long time before people feel safe again. This rebound effect will have lasting effects on our culture, on a global scale as well as within our own communities. Although most companies now provide mental health services to employees that they didn’t previously, mental health overall still lacks in the scope and nuance required to properly treat the consequences of a worldwide lockdown and stay-at-home order. This will come with time, and the publication of further information will benefit the perspectives we use to treat related mental health disorders and post-traumatic conditions.
Some Companies Are Giving Employees “Weed Breaks” at Work
For progressive employers in states where recreational cannabis is legal, it may be a new job perk. As we move past the stigma surrounding cannabis use at work, some employers are embracing it as part of the company culture.
People at work aren’t getting marijuana from their employers. It could be that they are encouraging people to use cannabis when and where applicable. Acceptance is more like when you know as many as 70 percent of your workers could use marijuana every day, and shuffling this behavior under the rug isn’t going to benefit any part of the productivity chain.
Since cannabis – when used responsibly – doesn’t hinder a person’s innate ability to be productive in an office setting, managers are beginning to embrace the idea that it could help teams more creatively brainstorm solutions or get into a “flow state”. People at some businesses simply aren’t fighting weed in the workplace any longer; even Amazon has publicly announced it will no longer be screening for cannabis use per pre-employment requirements. Instead, they’re making guidelines and safety rules that create a safe, common sense set of standards. People can use cannabis during their breaks, either medicinally or recreationally depending on state legislation and commendations.
Even if you work for a company with an open-door cannabis use policy, smoking marijuana while on the job probably isn’t a good idea. A lot of labor laws, including those surrounding health and safety, are still operating under federal guidelines. Technically, THC is still federally illegal and can be used against you in a court of law if anything were to go awry while partaking in these lax workplace environments. If you take a small dose of Sativa throughout the day, however, you might have a better mood and energy, which could help you be more productive at work.
What would routinely happen if your coworker was having a lot of stress and anxiety prior to Work From Home (WFH) solutions or mental health considerations? The burn out of that person would inevitably effect the work ethic of other employees, and possibly even drag a team or project down if the proper steps are not taken to revitalize that person’s energy. Some people find they are also better able to focus if they drink, ingest, or smoke cannabis, especially when given tasks they are familiar with.
A little cannabis could help employees who have long-term pain so that they can do their job better. The energy boost provided by Sativa strains can be beneficial for people who are feeling tired or run down. Because of a change in the policy on cannabis at work, would employers see fewer “mental health days”? Cannabis-friendly work policies could be interesting to see if they keep people at their jobs, boost productivity, and reduce absenteeism.
CANNABIS USE LOOKS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE & is just one of many options
Moderation is key, and there is still a lot of groundwork to be done on establishing cannabis use policies in the workplace that work for everyone. It is evident that people who use cannabis in heavy dosages at home (to relax, unplug, and even get to sleep easier) will not be able to apply these dosages in a work setting. There is not a large amount of information on this topic, and most medical professionals are still not privy to the information that would help individuals find the right solution for them.
For medical marijuana in particular, certified physicians are educated on these very topics so they are able to better instruct the patients they approve for the treatment plan. It is not available in every state, but medical marijuana programs are often kept intact (and untaxed) long after a particular state legalizes cannabis for recreational use. In these instances, having a “green card” can also carry the added benefit of being provided added commendations, such as being able to medicate on company property, or being able to bring your medication with you.
Still curious? Here’s how to reach us:
Ohio Green Team – Medical Marijuana Doctors & Recommendations – 1733 W Lane Ave Suite 6, Columbus, OH 43221
[ 614-639-0257 ] We are open Monday thru Saturday 9am-5pm to answer any and all of your questions, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call!