Working from home - will this be the new normal?
It's a time of great global anxiety. Covid-19 has emerged as if from nowhere and has shaken up our societies and the way we do business like nothing in recent human history. Many of us are feeling a little punch drunk and bewildered by it all. The way we shop, socialise and work has all had to change in a short space of time, and, like all unwanted change, it can be difficult to process. Anyone who can has been urged to work from home, so companies and other organisations have quickly been adapting.
Looking after your mental wellbeing when working from home
For many people this will be the first time they've ever worked from home. It may all feel a little strange at first. There might even be a feeling of novelty or perhaps as if you've been handed an extra holiday. However, for many it will be totally different and coping with the isolation won’t be easy. As you're adjusting it's important to think about your own mental wellbeing.
Get into a routine
Structure is one way to keep a lid on anxiety during this period. Have a time when you're going to start work, a clear time for lunch and time to finish. If possible, use a room in your house for work and close your door on it at the end of the day. Resist the urge to allow work to merge with your personal and family time.
The usual homeworking strategies might not be possible
If you're used to having a workplace support system around it's important to try and find a way to replicate it as well as you can. Long term homeworkers often cite the importance of scheduling social meetups in cafes and over lunch with friends and colleagues, but this is clearly no longer possible. Likewise, such advice as to visit the gym. There are still some things that you can do, however.
Exercise is still possible
It's still permissible at present to get out of the house for exercise. This might be a cycle ride, a run or just a walk with or without a dog. Make sure you take advantage of that every day even if you're feeling lethargic. Even if you don't normally do much in the way of exercise, now is a good time to start. It gets you away from the house and gives you a valuable hit of endorphins to raise your mood.
With a little creativity, there are many ways you can do this from the comfort of your own home as well. YouTube is a great resource for free exercise videos ranging from Joe Wick’s free online PE lessons, to beginner-friendly yoga classes, to more intensive workouts and gentle mobility based exercises.
Use IT & Technology to keep in touch with colleagues
Keep the work channels clear for work but develop a social line of communication with your colleagues. It might be a WhatsApp or a Facebook group. It could be email communication. Videoconferencing technology can be used to schedule shared lunch breaks a couple of times a week. You might even want to have shared after work drinks before the weekend via Skype! Take an interest in how your colleagues are coping and share experiences. You may not be with them in person, but you are in this together.
Embrace the challenge
Some people will adjust to homeworking easier than others. By embracing the change and seeing it as an opportunity to challenge and develop yourself you can turn the experience into a positive one.
Working from home may become the new normal as a result of this crisis and the better we adapt, and look after our mental health at the same time, the more prepared we will be.
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