Top Ten Tips... Boosting Your Mental Health While Working From Home
For many people, especially small business owners, your home also doubles up as your office. If you are accustomed to it, working from home means you can create a bespoke hub of activity where you can concentrate without interruptions, set your own agenda and working hours. You can even work in your pyjamas if you want to!
But if you are new to home working, as many of us are right now, it can feel incredibly strange to be away from your usual working environment. It can bring its own challenges, particularly when it comes to managing your mental health when working solitary.
Here are our Top Ten Tips for boosting your mental health while working from home:
1. Be virtually visible
Working home alone doesn’t necessarily mean you should not feel connected to the people you work with. Make FaceTime, Teams or whatever video messaging programme you use your best friend because connecting to people face-to-face will make all the difference to the relationships you have with your team.
2. Encourage exercise
It can be tempting to set it at your desk 24/7 without incorporating a bit of exercise into your daily routine. Its okay to take time out! Encouraging your colleagues to set time aside for some exercise will make them more productive and they will be able to concentrate more easily. Promoting a good work/life balance is still incredibly important when working from home.
3. Set deadlines
Your employees maybe in charge of their own time for the first time or for the longest period in their work history. Home working does require discipline and motivation. Without providing regular deadlines and a structure to their day it maybe easy for your colleagues to procrastinate, become bored and to feel depressed. Setting regular deadlines – by the hour if needs be – will keep them motivated. Achieving more will help to boost their sense of purpose and allay any anxieties they may have.
4. Beat the loneliness
The people you work with or space you share during your working hours may have previously driven you mad but being home alone for a long periods of time may lead to you craving interaction with other humans! To beat the sense of isolation, you need to encourage your teams to team build and to continue working at their relationships. This could be anything from simply picking up the phone to speak to a client instead of emailing, arranging daily team video conferencing, a virtual lunch date or a WhatsApp group message to check in with each other.
5. Work in different environments
Working from home would ordinarily give your colleagues the freedom to work in different environments, such as their favourite café or local library. Sadly, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it’s not possible to do this right now. But the principle still remains – encourage your teams to make the most of home working by working in a different space each day. Who says they can’t be productively happy while sunning themselves in the garden or in bed with the cat on their lap?
6. Remember each home is different
Unless you colleagues are classed as key workers, they are likely to be working from home alongside partners, children, parents or flatmates. They will have different working environments and relationships with others to consider. This could lead to a lot of stress and anxiety – especially if they are trying to juggle childcare too. Be patient while they find their new rhythm for home working. You will need to be flexible in when and how they work. For example, there may be kids joining your team video calls (which can be amusing but also distracting).
7. Encourage break times
Without set break times and colleagues to grab lunch or coffee with, it can be easy to lose track of time. While concentration and productivity is key, taking breaks and sticking to routines is just as important. Getting up at the same time, getting showered and dressed and taking regular breaks will help your so-workers to stay refreshed and motivated, protecting against burnout.
8. Set some boundaries
For some, working from home means life is even more hectic and with our home and work lives blurred more than ever before, there’s an expectation our employees will be available around the clock, especially in times of crisis. Your team’s mental health could be taking the brunt of our new lives in lockdown. You need to set some boundaries to avoid colleagues feeling stressed and anxious.
9. Bank time
Working from home means there’s no stressful commute to and from the office. IN the spirit of looking on the brightside, this means you colleagues may have more free time for themselves each day. You should encourage them to bank this time for self-care. Depending on your business pressures right now, it may not be possible to take this time back immediately but you should encourage your employees to use whatever time they would have spent travelling to boost their mental health. It might be a longer lunch break, time out to exercise or simply the promise of a day in lieu once a month.
10. Encourage independence
A boss which constantly checks in on their employees will only foster resentment and distrust. While making time for team video chats and to check your colleague are happy and have everything they need is important, this period of forced lockdown is also their opportunity to shine. Home working means your employees are more independent than ever before, which helps to build self-motivation, self-discipline, concentration and focus.
What steps will you take to improve your mental wellbeing at home?
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cHRysos HR Solutions is a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD accredited qualifications, Apprenticeships, Training and HR Services to SMEs nationwide. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you or your teams successfully achieve further qualifications, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1302 802128.