It’s amazing how a virus can change the way we work!
As a global software company, we already had 25% of our employees working from home with the flexibility available for our other employees to do so as required, then along came COVID-19. Within the space of 48 hrs we moved all 100+ global employees to work from home resulting in a slight shift of how all our teams now work together. Staying focused and motivated is likely to prove a little more difficult at this time and it is possible that some people may even feel isolated or disconnected from what was normally a “buzzing” workspace. We are working hard to keep everyone connected and encouraging a good state of mental health during these interesting times.
There are many tips and tricks to achieving a positive state of mind and a healthy work from home environment. Below are the key messages we’ve communicated with the team at Soft Tech to help them through the journey:
Create a dedicated workspace
This doesn’t have to be a dedicated office with a closing door, but it should be an area that mentally prepares you for getting into work mode. Don’t work from the couch or from a place in your home you would normally go to relax, unwind or sleep, apart from being ergonomically challenging it’s not good for your health. Also, if you’re at home with flat mates or family, as most of us will be during this period, let them know that this space is your designated workspace.
It is important during this work from home period to remember to wear “DAY CLOTHES” during work hours. Keep to your morning routine of getting up and dressing as if you were going to the office, this will help keep you grounded which is critical in the current climate. Getting dressed for the workday also reminds you that you are actually working and not on holiday.
We are all being exposed to a mountain of information which is readily available at the push of a button. Continually exposing ourselves to this constant stream of information can take a huge toll on our lives and mental wellbeing. Everyone will feel an element of anxiety because of the fear of the unknown and that’s ok and normal. We all like to be kept informed, however in times like these, all the experts will tell you to be mindful of the information you are taking in. Give yourself a break and limit the amount of time you spend scrolling through social media, watching YouTube or reading or watching the news.
This reads true for both adults and children – be disciplined in taking at least ½ of your week away from the events of the world and focus on the positive parts of your life (your family, your friendships, your faith, your pets). Maintain perspective and focus on things that are within your circle of control.
Take Breaks + Exercise
Take regular breaks away from your work from home space and get some fresh air and natural sunlight daily. Regular exercise will also help with stress and anxiety as it reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Regular exercise stimulates the production of endorphins in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. So, go for a run, take the dog for a walk or take your yoga mat outside for a half an hour or more each day. Also, stay OUT of the kitchen pantry!
Check in on your work colleagues
We’re fortunate being a tech company to have existing platforms in place that allow our teams to keep in regular contact. Like many tech companies, we connect regularly over Slack through various channels. Some channels are project related; some relate to a specific region or office and others relate to things we do outside of work. Our latest additions have been a channel called Pets-Club where we’re all posting photos of our pets keeping us company while we work from home, and Movies/TV-Club where we’re discussing Netflix recommendations (for outside work hours of course). Other channels include Maker-Club for those home/DIY projects we’re working on and Food-Club for the “foodies”.
We use Zoom to schedule our online meetings. This weeks’ company stand up meeting had 60+ employees from across the globe joining in for business updates (The Brady Bunch photos spanned across 3 pages)! Meetings are recording and posted to an internal share platform so everyone can watch and be kept up to date on developments and company announcements. Communication is critical especially in this current climate. We also encourage our employees to have their camera’s on for that face to face contact, with many of the team using a virtual background we have had some interesting online meetings across the first week.
Focus on the things you can control, our own actions, behaviors and work ethic. Along with the above, we are reminding everyone to practice kindness at a time like this and maintain a positive energy, its important. We all need to manage our levels; we all need to take a break from work, and we should all take an extended break from our computers and limit media coverage.
So, this weekend, limit the amount of time you spend reading, watching and listening to the global events.
Continue, or start in some instances, to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
Get plenty of sleep and above all else BREATHE and LAUGH.
Stay vigilant, safe and healthy.