Four mental health tips for working from home this Winter
For many, the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it the necessity of remote working. Globally, those who have been able to do their work from the confines of their own home have been encouraged to do so and, as a result, were thrown into the deep end of remote work.
As the months have passed, the consensus on these new working arrangements has been developing and looking forward from the tail end of 2020, it appears that this new way of working is here to stay. Adaptation to new technologies and working habits has been broadly successful and relatively fast, and remote working has no doubt come hand in hand with certain freedoms. Excessively long commutes are a thing of the past for many, flexible hours have become more widespread and the savings are adding up for those who can now brew their own coffee and make their own sandwiches in their lunch break.
Naturally, however, the change has brought with it new challenges to which none of us are immune.
Challenges of working from home
The office didn’t function purely as a place of work. For a large portion of workers, it’s a place to socialise too. The feeling of isolation is a real concern for people whose social interactions have reduced, and these can be amplified depending on an individual’s living situation.
Without a clearly designated boundary between work and home life, it’s very easy for us to fall into an unhealthy work life balance while working from home. Thankfully, there are things we can do to mitigate the worst of the downsides of remote working.
Get into a routine
Without a sturdy routine we can easily lose the distinction between work and home life. As the amount of daylight each day reduces, try to get out for a walk first thing or at lunchtime to make the most of what natural light or even sunshine there might be. Try and maintain healthy sleep patterns, and when you clock out for the day, stop working! If you’re saving time where you would normally be commuting, try spending that commuting time exercising or reading, or whatever it is you want to do.
Setting boundaries with your colleagues and those who you live with is extremely important. If you can, designate a private workspace so that your household knows not to disturb you while you’re there. With your colleagues, it can feel like you’re obligated to answer the email that comes in after you finish for the day, but you’re not. Once you finish working, enjoy your own time as much as you are able to.
Human interaction is important – if and when it’s possible to pick up the phone instead of sending an email then consider doing that. Having a video call allows us to pick up on nonverbal cues, which is integral to communicating and for picking up on each other’s wellbeing. Find time to socialise virtually, when doing so in person just isn’t an option.
Be kind to yourself
The situation we’re in is unusual – it’s totally normal and okay for you to feel the strain. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and if you find yourself struggling then recognise that it’s good for you to speak up about it. Asking for help is a positive action, and support is available should you need it.