With the recent coronavirus outbreak and governmental lockdown measures, most businesses in London and across the UK have been forced to adopt remote working practices.
With such a sudden shift from office-based work to remote working, employers and employees must learn to adjust to ‘the new normal’. Added financial, medical and social pressures makes a dramatic increase in stress levels across the country highly likely.
Forbes have deduced that the mental wellbeing of employees is at risk due to isolation and burning out, concluding that ‘workplace mental health, now at home or the office, must be a priority for employers.’
In this article, we’ll guide you through ten tips on how to cope with added stress when working from home in order to maintain positive mental wellbeing.
1. Dress the part
Sticking to a routine and mimicking normal working habits is key to maintaining work-life balance and, in turn, improving your mental wellbeing.
It is important to shower and get dressed at the same time and to the same standard as you would usually. Whilst business attire and slippers is perfectly acceptable, wearing your pyjamas or loungewear to work is likely to hinder your productivity and demotivate you.
2. Make a workstation
Separating your professional life from your personal life is key. Establish a tidy and organised ‘office’ in an area of the house that can be solely dedicated to work. Try and separate this from areas where you tend to relax. This will allow you to mentally and physically separate work-life from home-life.
3. Be prepared
Make sure that you’re fully equipped to complete tasks and work as normal to eliminate any unnecessary stress. Before starting your day, ensure that you have access to all relevant networks, CRM systems, files and IT support. For more information on this, check out this article.
It can be difficult to ‘switch off’ when working from home. Be stringent in ensuring that you start and end your day at the same time as normal, taking your normal lunch break and making sure to turn off anything work-related at the end of the day.
5. Plan your day
Write a to-do list at the start of each day. Make sure to vary your tasks and allocate specific periods of time for each task. It’s crucial that your to-do list is productive but achievable. If your list is unrealistic you may end the day feeling deflated or overwork to compensate. But, if your goals are realistic, being able to tick off all your tasks can feel rewarding and motivating.
6. Eliminate distractions
If you’re currently living in a busy house full of family or friends, try to set rules for separating working time from socialising time. Also, put your phone in a drawer and work in a room without a TV to ensure that you can stay focused and productive.
7. Plan things to do outside of work
Give yourself something to look forward to in the evenings or at the weekend. Plan to FaceTime a friend, take part in a virtual quiz or go on a walk with your family. Being able to take your mind off external stresses and do something just for pleasure will help to improve your overall wellbeing.
8. Be active
Exercise is proven to physiologically improve mental wellbeing, so stay as active as possible. There is an abundance of free home workout content available on social media. Alternatively, going for a run or walk is a great opportunity to get some fresh air during the working day. Setting yourself a fitness goal is also a great way to stay motivated.
Communicate with your colleagues as much as possible, try and have regular meetings and update each other on your plans for the day. Feeling like you’re part of a team will help you to stay happy and productive. Take a look at this article for more information on how to stay connected.
10. Make it work for you
As difficult as it may be, try and take this time to enjoy being at home and embrace time spent with whoever you’re isolating with. Reflect on things that you are grateful for and invest time in learning something new, reading the book you’ve been meaning to read or just having a lie in!
The pointers above are designed to aid the wellbeing of workers currently adjusting to remote working. However, we also recognise that many employees are currently on furlough leave and whilst all of our tips may not apply to furloughed workers, some will still be valuable. If you have been furloughed, you should also aim to make this time work for you. Stay up to date with industry news so that when you do return to work you can hit the ground running, and in the meantime try to undertake new training or personal projects to keep your brain stimulated, productive and rewarded.