‘No man is an island’ said the oft-quoted English poet John Donne, as long ago as 1624. And if anything is being highlighted by the Coronavirus outbreak, aside from wondering how long we’ll be locked out of our favourite social spaces for (!), it’s our concerns about self-isolation. The prospect of enforced time away from our support networks of friends, extended family and colleagues, for an indefinite period of time, is a real worry for lots of people at the moment. We may also not want to admit to feeling like this at a time of unprecedented anxiety and worry about burdening others.
So, if working from home is an option for us, then we may be fortunate, but it’s still normal to have concerns about concentration, productivity and our mental health. The companies that employ us will expect the same output as when we are office based and yet we may well be feeling a lot more out on a limb. Even if we are used to homeworking from time to time, the advent of Coronavirus has put this a different context altogether. So, let RE Resource Group give you some top tips to stay balanced and happy during a tough time!
The personal use of social media is restricted for a reason at work – it takes us away from what we are there to do. Although it may feel as though we need more connection when we are isolated, and although we may feel checking in more with the wider world is more warranted at this time for ‘information’, the quality of this on social media can be dubious anyway. We don’t ‘need’ endless opinions and Likes during the 9 to 5, not even now. So, try to restrict your use of Facebook, Instagram, etc., for personal use during working hours.
- Get some fresh air – for as long as we can, we can enjoy public, open-air spaces. Let’s appreciate them and at the same time improve our blood pressure, heart rate and body and mind functioning.
- Stay hydrated. It’s best to sip water regularly through the day, than to let yourself get lethargic and reach for a bottle of water. The goal is to not let yourself get thirsty in the first place. Water is a big antidote to those times when our mind starts wandering on the job!
- Take breaks. It can be easier to forego breaks at home and without colleagues to chat to, meetings to attend, lunch to buy out etc., we can end up with our heads down for longer periods of time which can impact on our wellbeing and result in us having too much screen time. Make time to move around, open the window, stretch and do something else for your usual break times.
Plan your day. Being home based, you may have different responsibilities to when you are in the office. Particularly when a partners, flat mate or children are stuck at home too. Try and establish a running order for the day. If the dog needs walking, children need feeding and you’re taking it in turns to sort food shopping, then these chores need building in to your day. Having your to-do list running through your head all day will impact on your concentration, so get it written down.
- Dedicate a specific area of your home to working, to get into a routine. Not everyone has a home-office and nobody needs to know if you are not fully equipped! Just keep everything you need in one place and pack it away neatly when done, so you are not living in a work-space or working in a living-space. For the next so many weeks, your office door is a figment of your imagination so have boundaries.
- Stick to your usual working hours when working from home. By answering queries late a night or early in the morning you are sending a signal you are open all hours. This is fine when it’s a compliment or ‘nice correspondence’ but will raise the expectation you will be there at all hours for the negatives and it’s best not to invite these into your private time.
- A lot of people find it effective to dress similarly to when they are in the office, apply make-up, feel presentable. You never know when a conference call will be needed and also, it makes you feel ‘the part’. We all play multiple roles in life and it’s normal to want some armour when performing our responsibilities. How professional and ready do we really feel in our PJ’s?
- Practice compassion. Most people feel unsettled right now. Most people aren’t used to working from home most of the time. Most people want to do well at work and create the right impression and yet not many of us have equipped home offices. You will be fine. Just remember we are all in this together and we can only learn new skills and new ways of relating to our colleagues and clients.