Since the upReach team have all started working from home, we, along with workers across the world are adapting to working in a different way. While our programme of support is largely unchanged, we’re engaging with more Associates than ever in these uncertain times, to do what we can to support them through these uncertain times. We’re learning how best to communicate with our colleagues, maintain our focus and survive without the coffee machine while working remotely. There are no hard and fast rules on what makes good home working so take your friends’, colleagues’ and our advice with a pinch of salt and find what works for you.
Stay connected: Is there a colleague or friend you normally have lunch with? Reach out to them to see if they want to video chat! Whilst remote working means you no longer bump into colleagues by the coffee machine, that doesn’t mean you can’t ping them a quick message to say hi. These informal interactions will help you to stay connected and motivate each other.
Set ground rules with family and flatmates: Given the current challenges, most people will find themselves in living arrangements that are unusual. Perhaps you have family around or flatmates who may disrupt your focus. Discuss the best way to manage shared spaces and set clear rules about what works best.
Praise: Normally you can just nip across to someone to say well done. Now it’s especially important to thank people publicly and privately for their efforts. Many people will be putting in extra effort to help their company manage this pandemic, so keep your colleagues motivated by sharing your appreciation.
Limit your news intake: While it is important to keep up-to-date with new regulations and advice, it is also important that you take a break from it and ensure you aren’t reading fake news. You could also try reading something different, for example – Positive News.
Experiment: Finally, treat this period as an opportunity to experiment. You have the chance to discover whether you work best in a power suit, comfy tracksuit bottoms or a t-shirt and jeans. Try working at your kitchen table in close proximity to the kettle, on the sofa with your cat on your lap or in the garden with the sun on your face. What makes you feel energised, focused and happy? With no date set for when we can all head back to the office, think about what works for now, accept that it will take time to adjust to a new work style, and change your routine if it stops working for you.
Here are some of our top tips that we hope you’ll find useful:
Emily: Build a walk and some fresh air into your daily routine. Try to leave your building for some fresh air, maintaining a safe distance as per current social distancing advice. If you have a garden, head outside for some sunshine or tend to some plants on your windowsill if you are able to.
Liam: Think about your workspace, even small changes like turning your chair around so you’ve got some sunshine in your workspace or opening a window to let in fresh air can help keep your mood up.
Stephanie: Book-end your days with an activity, for example, exercising, reading. This establishes a good routine and puts a distinctive start and end to your work day.
Sarah: I listen to ‘Pink Noise’ when I’m trying to concentrate. You can find playlists of white or pink noise on YouTube and Spotify. It helps you to tune out background noise, which can be particularly effective if you are trying to concentrate in a busy home!
Dulcie: It is important to keep a clear distinction between where you ‘work’ and where you ‘rest’. Put all of your work things away at the end of the day to build a divide between your home life and work life to help you actively switch off outside of work hours.
David: Turn your video on when you have online calls with colleagues, this creates team cohesion in the absence of sharing an office.
Niamh: Keep each other accountable; whether it’s your lunchtime jog, maintaining social connections or not spending every spare moment binge watching Netflix, agree with your friends, flatmates or colleagues to hold each other accountable for what you want to achieve.
Mabel: Try to pick a place that’s tidy, and dedicated to work from 9-5. Think about how you can change your environment to create a distinction between work and life – I move my kitchen table into the middle of the room for eating, and against the wall for work!
Tom: Set consistent sleep and exercise times, like online yoga or a lunchtime run, to add some structure to your day.
Liberty: While working from home gives you lots of opportunities to develop personally and professionally, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to dedicate yourself to self-improvement. It’s okay to spend time just being, take time to yourself and relax.
For more information on how to manage anxiety related to Coronavirus there are many different resources. Here are some we recommend:
- YoungMinds’ What to do if you’re anxious about Coronavirus
- The Mix has a lot of useful resources, here is their advice on how to deal with Corona-anxiety
- The charity, BEAT eating disorders, offers information and support about eating disorders and Coronavirus.
- The Mental Health Foundation are working to provide support during the crisis and recently published their own advice and tips.
- And for inspiration, read the Action for Happiness. You can join up for their 10 days of happiness email-based coaching program, or have a look at their Coping Calendar.