15 January 2021 15:48
We have witnessed many misfortunes over the past few months. We can say with certainty that they have brought many negative changes to our lives, but also the potential for some positives.
Whilst it should not be forgotten that many have lost work or even loved ones, for others, there has been a renewed chance to refocus, learn new skills and strengthen relationships.
If we focus on the world of employment, the changes in the past year for some, especially those who may have previously preferred to work from home, might almost be perceived as a kind of blessing-in-disguise. As many companies struggled to keep working, millions of people became remote workers almost literally overnight.
Despite the numerous difficulties faced by the companies, it could be said that the resilience displayed by many is a positive reaction to a number of changes. However, just because many have been fast to adapt to the economic shock of Covid and the subsequent health measures, it does not necessarily mean that the effects on employees and their productivity have been nearly so positive.
From a technical point of view, working from home can be practical for some companies because of the potential for savings or future investments. However, when we talk about health, especially mental health, we can see that remote workers are much more prone to psychological difficulties. Even those workers who are optimistic, self-motivated and productive can quickly become tired, unproductive and demotivated. In addition, working from home can cause emotional difficulties; fear and anxiety, especially in the face of a global pandemic can directly affect the productivity of workers.
The first and most important thing is that employers and workers accept that new changes require adjustment.
Remote workers spend hours in front of a computer without talking to other colleagues. Of course, this can be ideal for people who show introverted personality traits, or for those who enjoy working alone and avoiding social interaction. However, all those who like communication or simply some semblance of a social gathering can develop a sense of loneliness and isolation which is ultimately associated with a higher degree of depression and anxiety.
If you work from home, keep in mind that you can do a lot for your mental health - even if it might seem impossible at this point.
Here are four quick tips that can help you work from home.
If you want to improve your productivity, creating a part of the home that can serve as a workspace will send a message to your brain that it’s time to focus on doing the task. Without this, the temptation to slip into 'at-home' habits and distractions can be too great for many to resist.
Morning routines like hygiene, breakfast, and proper dressing will help you create the image of working in an office. Even if you stop short of dressing in a three-piece suit, it can help put you in the right mindset for work.
Set a time for work, along with breaks, and write a list of tasks and a plan on how to complete them. Planning activities will not just give you a sense of control, but, if properly spaced, also a constantly updating sense of achievement throughout the day that can help keep you motivated.
The most important factor that gives us a sense of belonging is good communication with coworkers. Thanks to technology, we can always maintain video calls with colleagues and thus reduce the feeling of isolation. But aside from this many workplaces already use some form of intra-work communication beyond the formal email channels. Slack, for example, is one of the most recent and pervasive entrants to the sector.
Lastly, it is very important to be understanding with yourself when you do not complete all the tasks as planned and on time. Such things happen even if you work in an office. If you fail today, you can try the next day. A growth-minded and positive mindset encourages us to deal with challenges more successfully not just at home but in the world at large.