The current Government-enforced lockdown and the subsequent requirement to work exclusively from home as the coronavirus pandemic continues is having a marked effect on worker wellbeing according to an article from Exective Grapevine.
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Whereas under normal circumstances remote working may have positive effects on employee mental health – a Fundera study found that 81% of those who work remotely on a regular basis are less stressed, businesses who offer the perk see 40% less annual turnover in staff and in most cases, productivity actually increases – this is not necessarily the case under current circumstances.
A recent Gallup study found that 57% of businesses are now allowing staff to work from home, yet another independent study by Blind found that 57% of fully remote professionals fear being made redundant – a fear that is growing amongst the general population whilst 40.6% are worried that remote working will take six to 12 months before they have the option of returning to the office. A worrying 52% report feeling more lonely when working from home.
As a result, the onus is on business leaders to support their teams as much as possible, and ensure that wellbeing is facilitated as much as possible. But how can leaders do this? Whilst delivering clarity wherever possible is essential to all workers in this difficult time, promoting the following measures will help.
Obviously the biggest impact of remote working is the dramatically different schedule you’ll have to follow. Making a success of this means installing structure, creating a schedule that works for you and sticking to it. This should include a general plan for each day with a to-do list, allocated break and lunchtimes and a predetermined start and end of the day. Without this structure, it’s easy to become aimless and unproductive, which will have a drastic impact on mental health.
The Government is currently imploring workers to stay indoors as much as possible and only leave the house for essential purchases such as food shopping and one piece of exercise per day. On this new schedule, it’s easy to slip into a sedentary routine. However, this is terrible both for your physical and mental health. Unless expressly told not to due to a pre-existing condition, take the time in your day to go for a walk or a run, and devise ways of getting healthy exercise within your own home.
Yes, keeping abreast of the latest developments in the pandemic is important, but it only takes one or two brief scans of a news site to find out what you need to know. Outside of this, refrain from slipping into a routine of constantly checking for updates. So long as you’re following Government guidelines, you don’t need to know every minute detail – and flooding your brain with negative information is terrible for your wellbeing.
Whilst it’s impossible to physically chat to or meet with your colleagues, this doesn’t mean communication has to drop. Ensure that part of your daily structure is dedicated to keeping in touch with peers, your teams or your superiors. Checking in will alleviate performance anxiety and ensure that you’re kept in the loop on all important business. Tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack all have effective video conferencing tools, along with instant messaging systems.
The pressure to over-preform in this troubling and uncertain time is overwhelming. The culture of sites such as Linkedin perpetuates a message that to be successful, you must be working on bettering yourself and churning out work to be succeeding. This is not the case at all. Take time for yourself. Honour your work hours and don’t be afraid to be inactive and recharge sometimes. Yes, having creative outlets outside of work is beneficial, but this doesn’t have to take up all of your waking hours. Sometimes, when you’re anxious, taking time to watch TV or simply sit in silence and unwind is just as important.