Measures recently brought in by the Government to squash the peak of COVID-19 has seen many companies begin working remotely in line with the effort to ease the impact of the coronavirus on communities across the country.
No doubt, for some, indeed for many, this will be a new concept. Even for those who work from home regularly, it will present a challenge given the many unknowns surrounding the situation. As of yet, no one knows how long this could go on for which is likely to garner feelings of anxiety.
However, there are things you can do when working remotely to implement self-care and ensure that in these challenging times you feel mentally prepared, in order to stay positive and able to bounce back when this blows over. So, here are some helpful tips!
Although many of you will breathe a sigh of relief at the prospect of long meetings becoming emails, now everyone is home-based, this may not be the healthiest thing to do for your minds sake. Luckily, in this day and age, there are various tools of communication to use to keep a good level of contact while distancing or self-isolating.
Stop for a lunch date with a colleague over Skype, share your achievements (and your snacks!) over Slack and make sure you’re trying your best to appear by video on all calls. The temptation to lounge around in your PJs with unkempt hair is real, but it is essential to maintain human contact during these unprecedented times. Important, given that just last year (2019), Buffer’s State of Remote Work study revealed that 19% of remote workers said that loneliness was the biggest struggle when working away from their office environment.
Losing the opportunity to scoot over to a colleague’s desk should you have a question is going to be tough, so it is essential to have various channels of communication open; whether that be over the phone or online, allowing staff to acquire the answers they need. Therefore, maintaining that all-important ‘business as usual’ attitude.
Find some ‘appiness at home
Another advantage of living in the digital age is the amount of apps available that are able to help us take care of our mental and physical well-being. Even for the short term it could be worth investing in an app, such as Headspace, Calm or Kaido. These can provide calming courses on navigating change, meditations to break up the day and ensure you’re taking regular breathers, music to keep you relaxed and focused while working on projects or mini-health challenges to keep you fit and healthy if your gym is shut, or if you’d prefer not to leave your home. Studies show that prolonged periods of sitting not only increase the risk of physical health problems but can cause a rise in anxiety levels too. We can all agree that this is not ideal, especially in the current climate.
This tip is particularly useful for those who have the unhealthy habit of reaching for their news apps a little too much. It really is the perfect time to swap negative patterns for ones that serve you.
In addition, apps like these can help you come nighttime; with sleep casts and sounds that will help you switch off when you hit the hay, so you can wake up for work well-rested and ready to tackle the day ahead.
Know when to call it a day
With no train to catch, places to be and the lines blurred between the office and home space it can be a struggle to know when to switch off from work. Many of us will have time on our hands, but filling that void with work may result in fatigue, lack of productivity, mistakes and overall added stress. While it feels right to work harder than ever given the long-term impact the crisis is likely to have on the economy, don’t fool yourself into thinking that longer hours means quality. There are many studies to suggest that this is nowhere near as productive as being well-rested and energised, meaning that the hours you do put in will allow for overall better quality contribution.
With this in mind, settle on a time to shut down and create a routine based around this. When it is ‘home-time’ say bye to everyone using your preferred communication channel, then switch off your work-device and place it in another room. Put the kettle on, meditate or begin preparing your evening meal – anything that will signify the end of the day for you… and relax.
Pop the TV on!
This may sound counterproductive but it’s actually quite the opposite, especially for those who are used to predominantly working in an office setting. Offices are generally full of chatter; it is not often you’ll come across a team that works in total silence (we hope!).
Of course, we wouldn’t recommend streaming the latest high-action blockbuster you’ve been eagerly waiting to watch, but something a little less likely to distract you, on low in the background. The sound of the radio could also help to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the workplace. It is up to you what entertainment you choose but this tip is useful in order to ward off loneliness and aid concentration. As discussed, human interaction is vital for the mind’s health, so it is something you should consider testing.
Lastly, embrace working from home. This may be a tough one, considering the circumstances and how you may feel about remote working in general. However, it is crucial to stay positive during testing times to allow yourself to come to terms with what is likely to be a life-altering transition. Here are some of the many plus points to focus on:
- No dreaded commute.
- More time for a lie-in.
- Free reign over the fridge!
- Access to home comforts (you can’t waltz around the office in your beloved unicorn dressing gown).
- The impact on the environment – fewer cars on the road means the planet is breathing easier.
- Most importantly, you are keeping yourself and others safe.
Remember, you are not alone in this, as millions across the world face the same issue. We live in a world where communication channels are plentiful, so take advantage and stay connected.