The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a dramatic shakeup of how almost all organisations in the world do business, and for a majority of people, that has meant spending at least some time working from home.
Those already practiced at working from home may have taken this transition in their stride, however millions of first-timers around the world have been forced to quickly adapt to a mode of working that comes with as many pitfalls as it does benefits.
While most employers provide the tools, software and flexibility required to maximise productivity for those working from home, less advice and support is available around how to maintain the mental health and wellbeing of staff in this changed work environment.
Here’s some key tips to keep staff wellbeing in check in the home working environment.
It is well documented that creating a dedicated workspace, either in a separate room or in a section of a room, can help boost productivity when working from home by limiting distractions.
But it also has a number of wellbeing benefits. One issue that arises for many people working from home is that it can be hard to delineate ‘work time’ from ‘home time’, which makes it hard to switch off and relax when work responsibilities are over for the day. Having a separate workspace that you are only present in during work hours will help alleviate that common work-from-home feeling of never being able to mentally clock off from work.
It can be easy when starting out working from home to fall into the trap of treating work time and home time as ‘fluid’, particularly for those with families. Unfortunately, any benefits that might be gained from maximising time are invariably outweighed by the added stress of multi-tasking and never being about to properly switch off from work.
Create a clear work routine that includes a start time, end time, and lunch break, and other shorter breaks, and try to schedule all of your work calls and video meetings during your working hours.
Maintaining the same work routines as you did when you attended an office, such as waking early, possibly exercising, showering, eating a healthy breakfast and dressing in work attire can also help.
Without the ability to pop next door to a colleagues’ office and schedule in-person meetings quickly and easily, it can be easy to fall into the habit of communicating with colleagues by email and other messaging platforms alone.
However, we spend half our waking hours working, so naturally our work relationships are extremely important to our sense of connectedness.
As much as possible, try to collaborate with your colleagues over the phone and via video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. This will help to create a sense that the team is still working together towards its common goals, and will help you feel less isolated.
Video catchups with colleagues don’t need to be strictly work-related, either. In an office environment, workers chat over coffee in the break room and have a social get-together on Friday afternoons. Continuing these traditions while working from home can boost morale and strengthen relationships.
Working from home means we are even more reliant on technology than we were before. An overwhelming majority of people also spend a significant portion of their non-working time connected to technology, whether that be social media, messaging platforms, gaming or streaming services. This can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and not present in the real world. Try a digital detox for a period each night, such as for an hour or so over dinner to connect with your family, or while practicing mindfulness exercises. Switching off from technology while exercising can also be a great way to recharge and feel connected to the world around you.
It’s more important than ever before that managers actively monitor the wellbeing of their teams.
In a work from home environment, this could include regular, confidential check-ins to see how things are going.
There is also new technology available that can help managers monitoring the wellbeing of their teams, such as Lumin Wellbeing.
Lumin Wellbeing creates user friendly mobile applications, web platforms and delivers world leading expertise designed to help team members in any workplace become more self aware, improve team communication and perform better as a team in uncertain situations.
Talk to Lumin today about how our technology solutions can help your team.