As the novelty of working from home starts to wear off, it’s more important than ever to look after our mental health and those we work with, says Claire Clifford.
Like many, back in March when home working was pressed upon us, the excitement of avoiding the smelly cramped tube, the over-priced national rail sardine tins called trains and the novelty of grabbing that extra 30-minute snooze was bliss and a dream come true.
Now, seven months on, I find myself speaking to a variety of people who are struggling with the concept of working from home for a possible further six months, especially with darker nights and winter weather looming.
The direct Covid-19 impacts are well known and thankfully the NHS is continuing to support us all as best they can. ‘Long-Covid’ has today been recognised as a real issue, which is a huge step forward. But we must make sure that we look after our family, friends and colleagues who may not have directly been affected by Covid, but instead slowly the indirect effects are starting to rear their ugly heads.
Isolation is a silent best friend of depression and anxiety. We all like our own time, but as we find ourselves home alone, disconnected from work colleagues for longer, or home with others but no space or freedom, our mental wellbeing could be significantly impacted - and we may not even know it!
We, as a community, friend, colleague or manager must make it our mission to stop the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Simple steps to check in with one another is easy. Please don't think that somebody else will do it - it's better to be too busy than being too lonely.
The NHS has a great article on taking care of your mental health whilst working from home and below I’ve highlighted a few reminders of what we can do for one another.
- Do you like a to do list? Why not add to your list to block out 20 mins every day to call somebody you used to see in the office, chat to one another like you did at the old coffee machine - better still try a video call so you can both smile and laugh together.
- Send an e-card - celebrate work milestones, birthdays and other celebrations, or even just a “Hi, how's your day”. We all love to know somebody is thinking of us.
- Were you a manager who used to host team building activities? Why stop? Get creative and source Covid-compliant activities and remote team meetings that are fun and interactive.
- Feeling impactful and having a purpose helps us humans feel good. Could you still make use of any company volunteering days?
- If you like to learn new things, why not take a short course on mental health awareness? It will help you detect the early signs and signal others maybe displaying, and many are free of fees too!