Working Well from Home
Whilst we ready ourselves for the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are having to consider making drastic changes to our day to day routine. Having to work from home can have a significant impact on our productivity, our social world and our wellbeing. If you are going to take on remote-working; perhaps for the first time, we have some ideas on how to make this transition in a healthy way.
If it is likely you are going to need to work from home, preparation is key. Consider what you are going to need to make this possible. What technology do you need? Who can support you to get up to speed on using this tech? Do you have a workspace in the home? Speak to your manager now, don’t wait until you have to stay at home.
Human beings are wired for connection; research shows us that significant times of isolation are not good for our physical or emotional health. Schedule in times in the day to connect with your colleagues. Try different forms of communication; text, email, phone calls, and video chat. It’s easy to fall into the habit of using email, however face-to-face communication or even hearing someone’s voice can help battle the feeling of disconnection.
Our work day consists of many social interactions; a wave in the corridor, a chat in the tea room. These forms of social engagement do not happen when we are working remotely so try to schedule some social time with your colleagues. Perhaps sit down with the team for a ‘tea and chat’ whilst on a video call, or set up a group WhatsApp chat. Be creative, find ways you can engage socially with your colleagues during this time – it’s a great way to get to know your colleagues in a different way.
Structure your day
There is nothing more tempting than staying in your pyjamas when you are working from home. However, psychologically it is really important to switch from ‘home mode’ to ‘work mode’ so try setting yourself up the right way. Get dressed, brush your teeth and move to your ‘work space’ if this is possible. Try to keep the schedule you would usually – this includes starting and finishing at the same time.
In the office the day is broken up; with meetings, lunch breaks and even toilet breaks, but when you are sat at home it can be easy to just work for long, unbroken periods. To be productive structure in breaks, perhaps every 45 minutes. It’s also likely that we become unrealistic about what we can achieve during these ‘uninterrupted work days’. Try picking 3-5 tasks we can reasonably expect to action; if we achieve more than this we will end up feeling satisfied and accomplished. If we set our expectations too high it can leave us feeling demotivated.
Be Authentic and Reach Out
It is natural to feel anxious or worried during times of change and uncertainty. It’s okay to express this; open up and seek support if you need to. Sharing this with your colleagues may invite others to open up and share their feelings too. Remember we are in this together. If you are concerned about anyone ask them “how are you doing?”. The simple act of sharing and feeling heard can make a big difference. Remember this pandemic will not go on forever.
If you are concerned about your emotional health during this time; support is available. Try contacting Samaritans on 116 113. Online resources are also a good place to start; head over to Mind www.mind.org.uk
If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your workforce, training and support services are also available. Mind in Mid Herts will be providing a range of support services in Hertfordshire. Check this out on our page: Coronavirus & Wellbeing at Work
Posted on: 24th March 2020