MANY of us are currently out of office and working from home, and will be for some time to come.
While it has its undeniable benefits such as cutting out commutes and making previously unattainable jobs accessible, it’s not all roses either, particularly at the moment when many are shoulder to shoulder with children that are Zooming or See-Sawing and also feeling the effects of yet another lockdown.
It’s no longer a novelty, and wellbeing is taking a hit. Below are some things to consider in order to protect and boost your own wellbeing while working remotely.
It’s so easy working from home to go from one end of the day to the other and not link in with anybody other than scheduled Zoom meetings for specific purposes. We’re missing the watercooler conversations which break the day and boost our mood.
Try as best you can to pop online for a brief chat with a colleague, even if it’s just to acknowledge that no, you have no news, and yes, this is really tough. A reminder that others are experiencing the same is helpful. On the other side of the communication coin, keep supervisors or managers aware of what you’re working on, as well as your current situation at home. This will help to make you feel supported, acknowledged and understood.
Chances are if you’re currently working from home, you’ve been doing so for a while. Take a piece of paper and reflect back on those days when things went well and felt productive, versus those that felt like you were chasing your tail, or just got nothing done.
Can you identify the factors that contributed to these outcomes? Some, such as children on the rampage may have been out of your control, but maybe there were other things that unwittinly improved your mindset like fitting in a walk at lunchtime, or having your workspace freshly organised.
Knowing what has worked in the past will make it easier to incorporate these things into new routines going forward.
It’s so easy for the lines to blur between work and home, so that it eventually feels like you’re living at work! Where at all possible, try to keep those lines clear. Are you able to have a room in the house for remote working, or even one section of a room? Avoiding having to move the laptop to serve dinner will really help the transition from one mindset to the other.
Also, having a clock-out time when you can, turning off email notifications and knowing that emails late at night do not require a response. Usually they’re coming from somebody else who is dealing as best they can with their own situation, and using the time available to them to catch up. Everybody is managing whatever way they know how.
While having a desirable timetable for your day can be great for motivation, it can also set yourself up for disappointment and feelings of failure if your kids have different ideas that morning, or your energy or headspace just isn’t conducive to it. That’s OK. Being flexible to those spanners in the works and being able to adapt timings, outputs and expectations will stand to your wellbeing. Try as best you can to reduce the self-criticism, and instead support yourself in adjusting plans.
Ignore the phrase “the new normal” — because there is nothing normal about this current situation.
Labelling it as normal insinuates that it should be manageable, and heightens feelings of overwhelm or incompetence. There is nothing normal about every day feeling like Groundhog Day.
There is nothing normal about work, eat, sleep, repeat. There is nothing normal about this lack of connection and variety, which so rightly is known as the spice of life.
If things are feeling flat, sluggish, bleugh — isn’t it only to be expected? It won’t be this way forever, but support your wellbeing by acknowledging the struggle. It’s real, and valid, and knowing that you’re doing amazingly to just get through is really important. And always know that you can reach out for support if it’s feeling too heavy.
Labelling it as normal insinuates that it should be manageable, and heightens feelings of overwhelm or incompetence.