Enforced working from home.
Meetings are cancelled, social events and gatherings are postponed or cancelled, weddings, christenings, classes are cancelled, exams are being re-scheduled, etc. etc., the list goes on. Socially distancing from friends and loved ones who are high risk. Then on top of all this, those who can are asked to work from home. Compounding the effects of isolation.
As a species we need human interaction for our mental health and wellbeing. So how do we look after our mental health in times of crisis that we are in right now?
I have been working remotely from home for the past 3 years, so I appreciate the effects it has good and bad. At first it you may find it difficult to stay motivated, dealing with the ‘silence’, the lack of human interaction. Thankfully Curatrix Technologies who I work for are a forward-thinking modern business who understand the needs of their employees. Being in the technology industry we have all the tech and knowledge to make it work. Microsoft Teams has been an invaluable resource, helping myself and my colleagues stay in touch.
I have found over my time as a remote worker ways to stay on top and handle the isolation. I am naturally a people person, so I did enjoy my monthly office meet up, that was until the coronavirus Pandemic hit. Now it is just me and the children from Monday, most of us now have to be home teachers, homemakers and home workers.
Here I share just 5 points on working from home which may help you through.
1 Stay connected with the outside world, mentally if not in person.
Staying connected, whether listening to the Radio, making phone calls or messaging your team. I always have the radio on in the background, not the TV as this is too much of a distraction. The music and voices of the presenters really help with the isolation, staying connected with the world outside your four walls. Call colleagues, friends or family, speak to people not just text or message, you need to hear their voice to benefit from the interaction.
You are no good to anyone if you neglect your mental and physical health. Go for a run or walk get some fresh air before you start work, break time or after work. Meditate, do jumping jacks in your living room. Practice yoga. Whatever it is that works for you, do what it takes to care for your body and mind. Don’t just sit there in front of your computer for 8 hours straight, this isn’t good for anyone. You are far more productive if you take regular breaks.
To support your mental health while protecting your and your family’s physical health during this pandemic, take initiative in maintaining wellbeing within a home workspace. Get up at the same time, do what you have to do for your family, get ready for work and again, incorporating exercise breaks and social interaction into your routine. A routine will keep you focused and motivated.
4 I’m working!
If you are not alone in your household, let others know when your working hours are so that they do not disturb you. They need to appreciate that even though you are at home you are still working. This will alleviate some stress of being constantly interrupted, however with young children off school this will be more difficult than usual.
5 Turn off notifications before and after work.
Finally, simple but important steps like turning off email notifications before and after working hours and maintaining a normal sleep schedule will help maintain a feeling of normality. It also helps you to not feel guilty about spending time for you and your family.
It is all too easy to carry on working into the late evening, however this will burn you out eventually. Take time for you and your family, we all need to rest and recharge.
Here’s an interesting fact from Forbes:
‘A 2019 survey by cloud infrastructure company Digital Ocean found that 82% of remote tech workers in the U.S. felt burnt out, with 52% reporting that they work longer hours than those in the office, and 40% feeling as though they needed to contribute more than their in-office colleagues. Employees that are new to remote work should keep this in mind, as they may feel compelled to work longer hours and prove that they can be productive from home ‘ Forbes
Its not all that bad, it has taken me a while to get used to working from home. For me the benefits outweigh the negatives. As long as I have a routine, work my expected hours and stay focused and most importantly stay connected with my colleagues and friends it works.
With today’s technology, flexible working is easily achievable and many businesses that support it will thrive. Sophisticated solutions and services can now enable employees to continue working seamlessly as if in the office, with access to files and applications, collaboration tools, meeting and calling features.
Will remote working change the landscape in the future?
Remote working has been a rising trend for several years, and the COVID-19 pandemic will reveal the opportunities and challenges of working from home for many companies that may not have considered it an option. Many populations, especially neurodivergent individuals, can benefit professionally and mentally from working remotely.
One silver lining of the COVID-19 situation may be that it demonstrates the unexpected ability of many organisations to adapt quickly to the physical and mental health needs of its workforce. One thing for sure is that in this time of uncertainty an anxiety, workplace mental health, now at home or the office, must be a priority for employers.
At the end of all the uncertainty it will be very interesting to see how this crisis has changed our landscape and how many continue working remotely.
If you need help setting up ‘working from home’ for your employees, we are here to help and are offering a 3 months free Direct Routing for businesses.