Lost online – how working from home can trigger addictions
The internet and computer use are part of the contemporary society and they change the way people live and work. The good part is that people can put their skills to work and get a job that doesn’t require them to be in a physical office. The bad part is that the technological medium attracts them so much, they experience symptoms similar to addictions. More and more people working from home go beyond their schedule and spend their entire time browsing the Internet, getting lost online. While some actions like watching documentaries or funny cat videos on YouTube are harmful, some people spend more time connected to the Internet than interacting with their families and friends. The online medium has started to interfere in their daily lives to the extent they no longer control their life and find no pleasure in harvesting relationships and engaging in activities outside their houses.
While internet addiction is one of the causes working from home triggers, it’s not the only bad habit people manifest in this situation.
Internet addiction has different shapes
Internet addiction is a broad term people use to define behaviours related to the use of computers and mobile technology. At present, there are no officially accepted symptoms for internet addiction, but research highlights the most important categories of bad habits people can develop fuelled by working on a computer.
Gaming addiction involves online and offline activities that imply using a computer. People who work from home have both a steady Internet connection and a high-quality computer. Both are tools they can also use to play games. And long are the days when people played games programmed into software like Solitaire. Nowadays, they engage in complex games like LOL, World of Craft, Fortnite, The Witcher and Overwatch.
Once they refine their gaming skills, they can develop an obsessive computer game playing behaviour that can become a problem. People who work remotely can spend excessive amounts of time caught in games that drain them from energy and impact their productivity. Gaming addiction is one of the oldest types of addiction people can experience when spending too much time in front of their computer.
Compulsive information seeking
The Internet is wonderful and full of resources, but sometimes people cannot stop from digging deeper and deeper into its wealth of knowledge. Some remote workers use the opportunity to rely on the Internet to complete their tasks, to fuel their urge to find and organise data. Most times, information seeking is a manifestation of other obsessive-compulsive behaviours.
Because they wonder from a website to another, they often get lost in the amalgam of information and fail to complete work. Compulsive information seeking can lower work productivity and even cause job termination when the employee isn’t able to overcome it.
Working from home has certain perks for the ones who love food. The kitchen is always there so they find more challenging to fight cravings. While at the office, they couldn’t bake brownies or burn popcorn, but at home temptations lurk everywhere.
People working from home are more anxious and cope harder with work stress. They often turn to food when they face job insecurities. Seeking out pleasure in food is common for them because there’s no one to watch over their habits.
But how can they tell if they’re binge eating? Are there any symptoms they can point to? Yes, there are. Binge eating is different from bulimia and anorexia because they don’t use diuretics or engage in vomiting after they overeat. They have episodes of eating huge amounts of foods in a short period, and they cannot control their cravings. During these episodes they eat more quickly than they usually do, eat even if they’re not hungry, and feel ashamed of their eating habits.
The best way to fight eating addictions is to join an eating disorders recovery program because specialists can identify the underlying factors that trigger the condition, and help the patient get better.
Online relationship addiction
People addicted to online relationships are deeply involved in finding and maintaining online connections, even if that means they neglect their friends and families. Because they interact daily with people online, they can easily develop online relationships. In their search to find new connections, they join chat rooms and social networking platforms that take their entire free time.
When they grow online relationships, people conceal their real identities and even appearance. Their online persona can consume them and make them forget their real life. When someone goes undercover for a long time, they can lose their social skills and have unrealistic expectations concerning real-life interactions.
Online relationship addiction leads to an inability to establish in-person connections, and makes individuals dependent on their cyber community.
Net compulsion is another term used to define a range of harmful activities that have detrimental effects on someone’s life. These compulsions are online activities like gambling, trading Forex or stocks (and losing money), online shopping, and online auctions.
When done compulsively, they affect people’s finances and even endanger their jobs (because they lower productivity). Spending excessively on net compulsions can stress their relationships. Often, they don’t share with their partners their harmful habits, until they affect their financial stability.
The Internet offers instant access to online casinos, stores and other mediums where people can spend money because they hope they’ll get rich overnight and escape a life they hate. People are easily susceptible to net compulsions when their daily life doesn’t meet their expectations. Gambling and trading can easily get them hooked because they promise to earn money easily.
There is no specific treatment for any of the above conditions, but therapy proves effective in helping people to overcome them. Depending on the severity of the condition and the other health issues they’re experiencing, different solutions can work. When someone is using the Internet excessively, the first step is to plan an intervention and share your concerns with their negative habits. Showing them support encourages them to seek help, and manage their symptoms.