Mental health Post COVID19 : post-traumatic stress disorder CHAPTER 3 |Working from home. Ordeal for some, heaven for others!

April 21, 2020 Alicia Roy

In this video, Dr. Sarah Campbell told us that people are telling her that they do not get a sense of achievement or feedback while working from home during this very unique time. Some of us are not familiar with this remote set-up and sitting by ourselves all day can be hard. How can we manage this better?

Check-ins! Technology can help. The lack of a physical office environment could impact your sense of work and feel demotivating as you are collaborating less and maybe not getting feedback like you were used to. Therefore, by ensuring you have regular team meetings booked you can check on your co-workers and set up time to catch-up, even just to talk about everyday things. This is so important. At Cornerstone we have recently launched a new feature called Check-Ins in which we have created a very simple way to schedule calls and meetings with managers, HR and peers to have open conversations about personal development and work. In some organisations those conversations are led by managers in a very structured way at a point in time, whereas our view is to ensure our technology enables employees and managers to have relevant catch-ups in a more dynamic way. 

Focus on what you do | We also found out from Dr. Sarah Campbell that notifications on the phone and pop-up messages can be distracting and it is proven that it takes us 22 minutes to re-focus on the task you were doing. Multitasking lowers performance. Stay focussed and take time off screen when you need.

Say no| We are home now, because we must be, and suddenly you get meetings booked at random times. Say no to meetings that do not fit your schedule. Remember to create a plan and ensure you have time for yourself. Another common mistake is to over-work. You might feel you are not performing at your best and you end up working 12 hours a day. Avoid that mistake. Go for a walk, get fresh air and get back to work later on – you need to be kind to yourself and take regular breaks.

Ordeal for me| We spoke about home being a safe space and how this is not everyone’s reality. For some, home is not safe and being alone 24/7 is not easy –believe me! You must try to keep busy, do healthy things and create a routine. And it’s ok to not always be perfect. As Liggy Webb says “Self-care and self-compassion are very important”. We must be kind to ourselves.

As we focus on current and post consequences of the crisis, I expect the remote employment to be a real trend for the future. We will have proven we can work from home and by the time we are allowed out we will have good habits – hopefully- which means:

  • performance is the same or better than pre COVID19
  • travel costs are lower for employees
  • commute time is replaced by personal time
  • work-life-balance may have improved
  • remote employment infrastructure is in place

It is undeniable that the COVID19 virus is forcing us to be digital, think in a remote way, consider working from different places as the norm and forcing certain industries that were not there yet to revisit their office policy and adapt to change.

But as we said, it can be hard. This is where  training is vital.  (Virtual) class-room time to check on our teams and ensure they are getting the right habits and learning new ways of working. In order to be successful, organisations need to provide the right technology and ensure they are being inclusive. Do not assume everyone has a second computer screen at home, or a printer or even the space to have an office at home. Communication is essential, and so managers and HR teams can help individuals find the balance while creating a healthy remote employment company culture.

If you feel disjointed and pulled in many directions…

TIPS TO EMBRACE WORKING FROM HOME

  • Separate work from home life
  • Organise your day, create a schedule
  • Make real food breaks
  • Metacommunication is important, think of the non-verbal cues and put the camera on
  • Stay focussed: notifications distract you, mute the notifications

TIPS TO SUPPORT EMPLOYEES WORKING FROM HOME

  • Be kind with performance reviews / feedback. There will be a time of adaption
  • Have an open communication channel
  • Ensure your employees have the technology they need
  • Home office requires space, you need to understand your employee’s personal situation (kids, shared homes…)
  • Give financial help to set up a home office if needed
  • Share best practises and good examples

About the Author

Alicia Roy

With a background in recruitment, Alicia is currently part of the marketing team and helps creating new content as well as building the online brand as a community manager.

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