By Bhavin Turakhia
Working from home—be it due to illness, a lockdown, personal or professional reasons—can eventually get lonely and stressful, even if you’re thoroughly prepared.
With businesses all over the world taking action to help combat the spread of COVID-19, many organizations are moving towards remote working.
A lot of the businesses—big and small—are making the switch every day, leading to an increase in the remote workforce.
However, this combination of working remotely for the first time and the unsettling news surrounding the pandemic is sure to take a toll on the mental health of many who start to work from home.
A lot of us are struggling to pull away from coronavirus news on social media or stay social while working from home during a company-wide remote work test.
At times, you just want to curl into a ball and completely forget about work. But work goes on…
Thankfully, a lot of companies are practising virtual coffees and lunches, video conferencing, and consistent messaging.
But there are also businesses that are new to this concept of remote work and aren’t as well-prepared as remote-first companies.
Keeping your mental health a priority at work and minimizing isolation is now more important than ever before. Here are some ways you—or your business—can help.
The first stage is to keeping your cool when you feel anxious or lonely.
Remember: if your entire company is working remotely, they’re likely experiencing the same kind of stress.
It’s important to know you’re not alone. And the best way to do that is to connect with each other more often than ever.
But that also does not mean that you’re constantly on phone or messaging platforms, because that may hamper work.
Being social can also help you stay productive. Plan regular 1:1s to check in on your teammates emotionally as well as professionally.
Use instant messaging and tools like Asana to keep your team on track. The more you move forward as normal, the more things will keep feeling normal.
24*7 social media is a big NO
It’s okay to log off. In fact, it’s okay to completely unplug at times.
Give yourself that break from both social media and work—the do not disturb function is there for a reason.
Your work will still be there after you finish your meal. Use tools like Screen Time to manage your social media usage and be cautious about fake news.
Take the time to seek out accounts that help your mental well-being to counteract the stress of social media.
It’s easy to spend your entire remote workday on your couch or bed, in your pyjamas, staring at a screen for nine hours straight.
But that’s not good for your body. The steps you take in an office, for instance walking to conference rooms for meetings, going to the bathroom or downstairs to pick up your lunch or even walking to a co-worker’s desk can be replicated at home—consider taking “desk breaks” where you move to a different workspace. And get some sunshine and fresh air outside!
Download a yoga app or a fitness app, do that 30 mins of workout every day. Maybe, even in between work hours.
Separate your workspace completely
A home office setup—whether in a home office or a kitchen—is crucial to separating work from home and staying productive at the same time.
Something as simple as setting up a monitor in a corner and designating it as workspace can keep you away from the drawbacks of working in bed.
This also gives you the freedom to move about your house without linking the whole space with work—meaning you can log off at the end of the day and not feel obliged to work after office hours.
Create and maintain a routine
In a daily office setting, you may spend an hour commuting to work and 30 minutes settling into the office, take a 10 a.m. coffee break with your co-worker, and then work straight until lunch.
It’s even more difficult to build your day like this when you’re working from home. So get dressed and ready for your day when you wake up, even if that means just changing from your pyjamas to another set of pyjamas.
Make your favourite coffee and breakfast and take the usual breaks that you would in the office.
Take that lunch break and nourish yourself away from your workspace as you would do at your office. And at the end of the day, log off from work completely.
Find your calm
Managing your mental wellness is just as important after work as it is during working hours.
So once you log off, put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ and seek comfort in the things that matter to you and make you happy.
Focusing on a hobby, watching a film or reading a book, making a phone call to a friend or a family member, taking a nap, or cooking your favourite meal.
You’ve put in a hard day in the middle of a hard time—you deserve to be well.
Bhavin Turakhia is Founder and CEO, Flock.