Stuck working from home and not being able to interact with your work colleagues is a recipe for mental health struggles.
Seeing others is a great way to maintain your social sanity. Few people want to be stuck at home let alone work from home day after day. People like to interact with other people face to face, with a few exceptions.
When working from home consider these three ways to look after your mental health.
1. Establish and Stick to a Routine
Working from home is isolating and can be a challenge. Many people find their attention wanders when not being around or engaging with your work colleagues.
A routine will help you focus on your work tasks.
Try these tips:
- Establish a space for work in your home that is free of any distractions.
- Get up and get started working at the normal time you would if you were going into the office. Make sure to take 15-minute breaks, leave your home office to eat lunch, and keep the workday ends at the same time, if possible. We do know that having small kids at home may make this tip difficult to consistently keep.
- Do not work in your pajamas!
- Create a daily to-do list of tasks for the day and prioritize them. For maximum productivity, do the most important tasks first even if you want to put it off.
- Keep your home workspace uncluttered and free from distractions and things that will lull you away from the work on hand.
- Homeschooling children is a major disruptor of work normalcy. Let your superiors know if you have school-age children to work out task completion schedules. It is important to try and set up a routine that is workable and reasonable for dedicated work time and when you can give your children the attention they need for schoolwork.
2. Stay In Touch With Your Work Colleagues
Keeping in touch with work colleagues is a great way to avoid becoming isolated while working from home. You can do this both in a formal fashion and a more social one.
Try these techniques:
- Try and set up a mutual schedule to talk, walk, or meet with your colleagues. Try to remain available during these times.
- Zoom and Google Meet Ups are a great way to collaborate or discuss work-related issues. Free video calling software is readily available.
- As a courtesy, make sure to follow up on video calls with a quick email to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the actions that need to be taken.
- Try to avoid using social media chats or messenger services for business purposes. Email is more professional.
- Maintain a regular check-in with the rest of the team schedule with your co-workers or employees. You do not need to necessarily do it at the end of the workday unless you are working on a time-sensitive project.
While it is hard, try to keep your work and social life separate. This primarily relates to gossip. When working from home, it is easy to gossip because no one else is around to overhear.
Not all your co-workers will appreciate you sharing everything with them. Respect their boundaries just as you expect them to respect yours.
3. Utilize Any Support That Is Available
Make the most of the support your employer provides when working from home. Do not make your work at home experience more challenging by gutting it out on your own.
- Many employers will have support like dedicated apps and websites offering support available for its employees. Use them.
- Your employer may be able to make reasonable adjustments to your work schedule if you are currently struggling with a physical or mental health condition. They may provide equipment or offer additional support from supervisors or co-workers with tasks.
- Self-care is important and explore self-care techniques while working from home. Revisit self-care methods you have used in the past that have worked for you or try a new one. You will need to be flexible sometimes when stuck working from home. Let’s look at a scenario you will need to be flexible – Going to the gym may not be available so instead try working out from home using a streaming video or YouTube class.
While many people will thrive working from home, it is not for everyone. You may struggle. If you do find yourself struggling, keep these three tips in mind. They will help you stay a sane and productive person while you’re stuck working at home.