WFH: Mindset Matters
This blog is the first part of a series that will focus on helping people while we are encouraged to practice social distancing and working from home. If you’d told me a month ago that soon we’d all be working from home for an indefinite period, I probably wouldn’t have believed you, nor would anyone else!
I write this blog to make you aware of those around you who may suffer from mental health challenges such as anxiety, and how social distancing, isolation and working from home with a pandemic outside is likely to impact them further.
Laying my vulnerability out here is not easy, but I write this as it’s something I struggle with, and I hope that by sharing some of the things that have helped me, I may help some others too. Even if you don’t or have never suffered from anxiety, being aware of it is important for supporting others going through it. As we move into new ways of working during an indefinite period of uncertainty, there are strategies that yourself, your team and your company can do to support those who may be suffering and hopefully help to encourage a more positive and calmer mindset.
Morning team huddles
Firstly, having a team that you can lean on will pay tribute to how successful you are at working from home. If you don’t have a team, create one! Connect with other people in your business, your industry or community through social media. Taking part in regular catch-ups or morning ‘team huddles’ can set a precedent for a proactive, productive and positive day, especially when it’s so easy to get sucked into the deep, dark hole of the current news. Just make sure your team don’t just talk about the dark hole of current news!
Team huddles can simulate the same ‘office chat’ that you inevitably have before you start your day when working in an office with other people. Before you start working, you’re ready to go, with laptops open, and a cuppa in hand – all chatting to one another about the films you’ve watched, or what you had for dinner the night before. It’s still important to have these conversations, as it will keep the team morale high and reinforce a positive mindset. Weirdly enough, it can also encourage getting to know your team mates better, as you’re introduced to partners, pets and other family members like my team and I have done this week! Our Marketing Manager’s dog is now our team mascot – welcome to the team Alfie!
Use online collaboration tools
Ironically, our screens are the only things that are keeping us connected right now. With the help of online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Webex, Skype for Business or Zoom, you’re able to keep in regular contact with your colleagues about not only business updates, but team updates too.
Face-to-face customer meetings may be cancelled or postponed, but why not have a meeting over video conference and get to know your customers a little better and give them the support they need during these times too?
In our business, we are encouraging one to one and one to many meetings, online training, collaboration and idea sharing sessions; and instant messaging allows our team to quickly update everyone on a completed task or project and even send each other praise and gratitude for a job well done – because who doesn’t like a bit of recognition?
It is also extremely important to be overly vocal about how well your team, your colleagues and anyone else is doing during this time, as not only will this increase team morale, it will also help relationship building, so that when you do go back to working in normal conditions (and in your office), you feel confident that you’re doing a great job.
Keep a regular routine
Working outside of your routine can trigger anxiety for some people as it makes them feel uncertain. One piece of advice I’d give is to stick to your daily routine as you would if you were going to commute into work. Set your alarm, shower, get dressed for work and make yourself breakfast. In the time you save on not commuting, you could be having your team huddle, or perhaps add a mini at-home workout or meditation into your day.
Managing what is within your control will help you to maintain a feeling of normality and calm while there is abnormality happening around you. One of my team recently reminded me to “focus on what you can control and try not to needlessly worry about what you can’t control. Instead let’s together focus on how we can support those who are affected by these changes”. I keep this piece of advice in the back of my mind if I feel myself slipping back into a deep, dark mindset when reading negative news.
Focus on good news
Speaking of negative news, I would certainly advise limiting the amount of time you spend watching, reading or listening to the news at this time. Yes, it’s important to get updates if they are relevant to you, but select a few reputable and authoritative sources like WHO and the UK Government. If you still want to keep in the loop, then check these websites for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening; but do not scroll before you go to bed, especially not on Twitter!
Consider disabling your notifications from news apps, as getting regular updates on the death toll is not conducive to a healthy mindset. Perhaps you could even look at curating your own news feed, filling it with good news stories instead. If you subscribe to newsletters from websites like The Good News Network, or PositiveNews, you’ll be able to keep the negative news stories to a minimum, and start seeing positive news stories like the boy that uses his pocket money to donate toilet rolls. Lovely, isn’t it?
Much of the news tends to be fearmongering and this negativity doesn’t help to breed a positive mindset. My team and I have also taken to sharing good news stories with one another, we post them in our group chats to lift morale, but most importantly, to make each other smile.
There are so many other things we can all be doing to make the most of technology in this difficult and unusual time, but I am aware that this is already a lengthy blog for the start of a series! Hopefully, if you are still reading, that means it has been a useful read! If you have other ideas and free resources that you’d like to share (please keep them positive and uplifting), post them in the comments on our social media pages or email our marketing team and we’ll look to include them in the coming weeks.
And finally, a little ask from me. I ask that we steer away from the thinking of the term ‘working from home’ as being isolating and by ourselves, but instead, let’s think of it as ‘collaborating from home’ because we are all lucky enough to have devices, tools and technology that enable us to connect and collaborate together. Be mindful of those around you, and let’s stay connected.
If you are anxious about coronavirus or looking for support for dealing with mental health challenges, please visit the Every Mind Matters website for more resources.
#CollaboratingFromHome #CFH #WorkingFromHome #WFH #SupportEachOther #BetterTogether
Mar 23, 2020
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