November 17, 2020
Well here we are again! Again many of us have found ourselves working from home in response to the government’s recommendation to limit exposure to the coronavirus outbreak. We could talk about making sure your IT is secure, we could talk about making your broadband connection work as effectively as possible or about what did and didn’t work last time, but no we are not going to. Instead we are going to talk about us…well actually about all of us and our mental wellbeing when working from home.
We know what it is like to work from home, as most of us have been there before. But this time feels a little different. Whether that is because the days are shorter, the nights feel darker and the weather is getting colder; something makes this time feel harder. It could be exactly because we have been here before and so we know what it means. But aside from technology challenges, maybe we need to take a moment and consider ourselves.
It is unlikely we can completely banish any feelings of worry or anxiousness about what is going on, but we can do things to make us feel a little brighter if things are affecting us. And let’s face it one thing we can be sure of at the moment is that we are not alone!
Here are some little steps that can make all the difference:
1. Make it a routine
Find what works best for you – if you are used to an office environment and set hours then why not stick with them. That way you will be mentally separating your work time from the ‘you’ time. Generally we find it easier if we do actually get dressed too – rather than lounging in our PJs, as that makes it feel like we are ready to start the day. But hey that’s a personal thing!
2. Create a space
Sometimes this one is easier said than done! Not everyone has the luxury of a separate office room at home, but you can make a dedicated working space. Preferably somewhere that is away from the day to day shenanigans, so those looming chores or household tasks don’t get the better of you and stray you away from your work. If that is not possible, then simply making an area where you always go to do your work will make all the difference to your mental approach.
3. Take time to talk
Don’t rely purely on email to communicate; this is surely the path to feeling isolated. We may not be able to physically meet people, but we can talk. That could be either over the phone or face-to-face with video chats. The latter will make you feel more connected with people and it also makes it easier to read facial responses to gauge how best to respond and continue conversations. You might also want to venture into talking about more personal stuff while on the call, just to make it feel like you have properly talked to someone outside of your house. And also talked to someone about things other than just work.
4. Get out or stop
Every now and then we need to stop. It is not good to just keep working. It is OK to take a moment and pause. This could be a wander into the garden to get some fresh air, a walk around the block, a quick run, grab some lunch or chat with a friend. Often a short break will make all the difference to your productivity afterwards. The NHS has some great guidance on exercise which is worth looking at.
5. Keep your strength
And we are not meaning weightlifting here! This is much more about making sure you try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, drink enough water and get plenty of sleep. Find some spaces in the day to reflect on what you have achieved and spend time doing things you enjoy – whatever that might be. And a personal one from us – limit the amount of time you look at the news!
In fact Mind – the charity focused on encouraging better mental health – has a great Working From Home Wellness Plan which could give you some further thoughts and help identify the best way to help you in these times too.
Here at Turncloud, we know none of this is rocket science and much of it you may already know or be doing. But a little reminder every now and then can make the world of difference to our mental wellbeing during these times. Keep healthy, keep happy and be productive.