Working from home was once considered a commodity, and whilst this is still the case for many people, a lot are struggling to deal with it. The current lockdown has turned rooms of relaxation into working environments, and people find it more difficult to relax. This situation has required employers and managers to be more attentive to their employees and extend a helping hand wherever necessary.
That’s not to say the lockdown hasn’t positively impacted the working environment. Productivity is at an all-time high, across many different industries, and there doesn’t seem to be a drop. Some will almost find it exciting to get back into the office, but on the other hand, others have already adjusted to the change and are much more comfortable working from home. There will be a lot of worry around whether it will be safe to return without another outbreak.
A gradual introduction to the office environment might be the approach employers choose to take, to ease their workforce back into things. However, government officials might just lay down new rules about how many employees can be present in an office at any given time. It’s essential to explore your support options through your employer, as often people are surprised by how much of a difference a conversation can make.
Explore Your Support Options
As mentioned above, most employers will offer an extended arm of support, as a happy workforce is a productive one. Managers will always listen to concerns and worries, but they’ll also listen when somethings troubling you outside of work. It’s imperative to talk about these sorts of things to ensure we remain focused and as productive as possible, leading to stress relief.
Often your line managers or bosses will work with you towards actionable targets, to improve general happiness. It’s achieved through regular catch-ups to check on public mental health or set targets via an actionable list. However, the most challenging part is trying to diagnose the problem and the “how to fix its” follow after.
You’re Not Alone
It might seem like the most overused phrase and can often come across in the wrong way. However, this is the truth, and people mean well when they say it. Recent studies around mental health indicate that one in four people suffer from a mental health issue each year! There’s an astonishing 792 million sufferers worldwide, and that’s only through professional diagnosis.
With so many people suffering from the same issues as you, why not find people who have similar thoughts? It’s always a great idea to seek professional help, but having somebody who can relate to your problems, helps you understand the issues better. Reach out to friends and family, as you’ll often be surprised by how much this can help. They offer a space to safely discuss how you’re feeling and help get to the route of an issue.
Vulnerable People Can Wear Many Faces
People have become experts at hiding their feelings, usually caused by people misunderstanding mental health in their early lives. However, it’s essential to check in on friends and colleagues and help wherever possible. People suffering want to be heard, and you’ll be surprised by how much this can elevate their mood. Have weekly work meetings with your colleagues and check-in on the people who seem to be “doing fine”, as these people often need the most support.
Ensure that it remains strictly confidential when discussing these issues with anyone in and out of the workplace. Respecting their wishes is paramount and having that bond/trust will encourage them to open up more often.
Encouragement of Personal Planning and Self-Care
A practical method to help employees is the implementation of self-care planning and goal setting. Encouraging employees to make personal goals each month is a great way to bring people out of their shell and feel good. People are using this time in isolation as an opportunity to get into shape and improve their physical health, which has a positive impact on our mental health. Setting up some friendly competitive challenges is a great way to keep encouragement rolling, and it’ll lead to improvements in overall happiness.
However, these goals don’t always have to be physical. It can be as straightforward as setting the goal to read a book every month and report your findings to a colleague/group of friends. It can often help improve overall focus, and if you’re reading self-help books, it’ll be effective at helping to understand deeper feelings better.
Setting a Schedule or Routine
As working from home during an outbreak has proven to be incredibly isolating, we need to become more structured. Setting a routine that feels good to follow is a great way to get yourself more organized, which will alleviate overall stress levels.
- Ensure your workspace is free from distraction – A quiet workspace allows you to focus on your work, complete goals/deadlines efficiently, and this will lead to a higher appreciation for your work.
- Set out an exact work schedule – Always plan your workweek. Whether this is marking everything in your calendar, or using a custom spreadsheet to manage your tasks better will contribute to a happier work environment.
- Take your lunch break – This can often be missed, due to busy schedules and stress. However, this time is essential to unwind and collect your thoughts.