Working from home? Here’s some tips

Authentically Being News   •   March 19, 2020

Once the excitement and novelty of working from home has worn off – (which took only about 2 days for me) other feelings inevitably creep in.  It’s easy to take for granted the reliance we place on the company of our co-workers, our work printer, our monitor, our biscuits and access to an awesome coffee machine or barista downstairs.  With that suddenly gone, how do we best cope with this change as well as all of this looming uncertainty?  How do we help to protect those most vulnerable and in need?  How do we adapt to thrive in our environments?

After a few conversations I’ve had in the past few days here are a few things you may want to consider:

Decide how much of your time you want to dedicate to Covid-19 News

Seriously wherever/whatever you look, scroll, listen to or pick up, we are all talking about Covid-19.  Maybe it’s time to think about what resources you are going to subscribe to and how much you are going to let occupy your brain.  It can get addictive, but equally detrimental. One of my colleagues has limited themselves to 30 minutes of news a day now to try and minimise the impact it is having on them.  If you’re anything like me then the continual noise will start to fry your brain.  After this post I’m going to make a conscious effort to limit my own occupation of it.  Practicing mindfulness is a great way to start.

Check the impact of your decisions

Reason 1. If you’re lucky enough to not be in the “At Risk” category then count yourself lucky. Remember the measures are not being taken to support the healthy – they’re being taken to protect the vulnerable.  Whilst the percentage of seriously affected is relatively low, how much of a strain do our medical resources need to be under before it breaks and can no longer support those really in need?  Let’s try to minimise the risk as much as possible.

Reason 2. Reading this you’re probably lucky enough that you can buy additional supplies “just in case”.  That’s fine, but think about the huge proportion of our community who rely on a weekly income to buy the basics such as toilet paper, soap, pasta & sanitary products.  They can only afford to buy things as they need them…so to find that many essentials have gone is scary.  We need to make sure that everyone has access to the basics.

Build some structure into your day

If you’re working from home and you’re not used to it there may be a temptation to stay in your PJs and have Netflix running in the background all day.  It’s easy to be tempted with your creature comforts.  However, show up for yourself like you would at work. Structure your day so that you know when you are going to take your breaks and when you know you need to focus.  If you find yourself diving into the kitchen for snacks every 2 minutes (yes, my fridge and snack cupboard are now empty) then ban yourself from the kitchen!  A colleague has just created a day plan for him and his wife to support each other and their childcare.

Get connected

I never realised how much I appreciate my team until I was told I can’t be with them.  Working from home and travelling away is the usual for me but sat here in my home office I feel a sense of loss not being able to speak to them as freely as I would in the office.  Luckily my team is working hard to check in on each other.  We’re organising virtual coffee breaks, buddying up and spreading the virtual love through other methods such as Microsoft teams.  Use the phone instead of email, stay connected. Use the technology you have, don’t become isolated and if you haven’t heard from a team member in a while…check in on them.

Find some self-compassion

Being confronted with the unknown is hard.  What do we do? What don’t we do?  How will we cope?  What will my boss think?  What will others think?  How will I meet that deadline?  What’s going to happen next week?  What’s going to happen next month?  The truth is, none of us really know how this is going to end but find some self-compassion for yourself.  It’s okay if things aren’t as perfect as usual, even if that means having your child hanging of you during a call. It’s OK and people will understand. We are all just trying to do our best and working through it day by day.  Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you would give a friend going through what you are.  Personally, I’m looking forward to more children and dogs popping up during my video conferences and seeing the humans behind our professional facades.

If you are struggling reach out for help

If you find yourself really struggling with the current state of play, don’t suffer in silence; as a community we are here for you. We are in this together and sharing your fears can help lighten the load.  The probability is you will find others who have the same worries too.  Speak to someone you can trust and if you don’t feel you have that someone then there are charities and organisations who are trained experts in listening and supporting you such as The Samaritans.

My thoughts are with everyone at this time and if you are in need of a virtual coffee please get in touch.

Speak soon Lesley. x

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