Working from home has been high on the list of coveted employee benefits for many years now. It’s something we have embraced here at AIM Internet digital marketing, which is exactly why we know just how important it is to prioritise your mental health whilst working remotely.
Whilst working from home is often seen as a benefit, it can take time to adjust to a different way of working. Since the global COVID-19 pandemic, almost 30% of wage and salary workers have been asked to work remotely. Many have never worked from home before and are understandably fearful about COVID-19, as well as its economic and market impact.
Related: Remote Work Survival Guide: Managing Your Availability
People are trying to figure out the best collaboration tools to allow them to work from home effectively, especially if they’ve never done so before. And, in a lot of cases, they’re confined to houses with other family members, children and housemates who also have work or school demands. The combination of stress, fear and other strong emotions that have arisen from the situation can understandably take their toll on mental health.
Now more than ever it’s important that structured and unstructured connections with work and colleagues continue. So here are few steps to help protect your mental health during this unprecedented time:
Working from home can be an enviable benefit for many, but it’s important to recognise that it can sometimes be challenging. Unlike working from the office, your home is filled with appealing distractions, made even harder if you have other people living, working, or trying to get school work done in the same space.
As a result, it’s important to remember we are currently experiencing a time of imperfect reality where our patience may be more tested than usual. So be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much too soon. You’re figuring out a new schedule, new tools, a new way of working and new habits to ensure you remain efficient, so it will take time to adapt to your new normal.
The most effective remote workers generally create, then stick to a routine. So while you might feel that many things are out of your control right now, creating a routine gives you an element of control and much needed structure. Set your alarm, get up, work out, have breakfast, get dressed, all the things you would normally do to set yourself up in the right mindset.
That being said, don’t be too strict and allow yourself time for breaks and inevitable interruptions. Create a schedule but don’t beat yourself up if you have to relax it slightly to meet the needs of these times.
Being at home it’s very easy to keep a regular check on social media or have the TV playing in the background. But if you’re feeling anxious about the current situation it might not be wise to bombard yourself with constant updates. While it’s important to stay up to date, it’s also important to close off from time to time and work is the perfect outlet.
Perhaps work some time into your schedule where you catch up on the days events and limit your intake outside of these times.
Many people thrive off the office environment and need / enjoy that social interaction. Now you’re suddenly faced with working from home without those connections, mentally that can be extremely challenging. On the other side of the coin, if you are someone that needs that time in the office for some privacy, suddenly working from home with your partner and three children can be very overwhelming.
If you recognise that you’re feeling isolated or lonely, make sure you connect with friends or colleagues via video calls, or regular messages to get the connection you need. And if you are someone that needs space or time alone, be open with your family or those you live with and work that time into your schedule as a priority. Benign aware of how you are feeling and your needs will also help with your productivity as you can assign tasks accordingly throughout the day.
It’s essential to acknowledge that these are unprecedented times, therefore as much as we would like to continue business as normal, it’s highly unlikely that we can. Therefore, prioritise your workload and focus your efforts on the important things. Collaborate with your team to establish where your energy is best spent.
Working from home may be harder for some people than others so make sure you push back if your work demands are too difficult to manage in your current situation.
It’s more important than ever to maintain healthy habits, this may look different for everyone but could include exercise and physical health, healthy eating, meditation, reading, whatever it is that helps you to feel better. Stay hydrated, make sure you get some fresh air everyday and avoid too many unhealthy options. If you’re feeling good about yourself this will have a positive impact on your mental health too. In addition, the healthier we are, the better we can fend off any illnesses.
It’s imperative that you monitor your mental health closely during this time, especially if you’re prone to anxiety or depression. If you’re starting to feel out of control make sure your reach and connect with friends, family, colleagues or anyone you feel comfortable talking to.
Working from home has plenty of advantages, and many of you are probably enjoying your new found freedom and stay at home lifestyle. However, sudden and significant disruption can be hard for anyone to manage so be mindful of how you are feeling each day.