As the reality of home working for the foreseeable future sinks in, usually sociable and outgoing business professionals need to address their mental health.
“Many of my colleagues love their business life because it’s so sociable”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe from flexible workspace broker Offices.co.uk, “but now we are isolated from that social network, and it’s tough times for everyone”.
The Government drills home every day the importance of getting exercise, and many are out and about walking, cycling and running. However, the sudden and very instant nature of the lockdown has potential to hit some in the business profession harder than they might realise.
“The difference to work and life over the last month has been let’s say – brutal. Most of us in business have come from a vibrant, booming and highly social workplace, down to working from home in isolation” says Ratcliffe, “it’s a shock to the system and shouldn’t be underestimated”.
Many firms are utilising technology to help their employees work from home, whilst others have been “furloughed” – the creative phrase for being temporary laid off.
This combination of both semi-redundancy with no work to do, and those under pressure to continue as normal working from home carries a huge mental burden.
“Everyone I’ve spoken with is having tough times right now. The pressures some are under are insane both financially and mentally – we need to talk to each other and know that when you have a wobble, someone is there for you – because everyone will at some point”, adds Ratcliffe.
Consider these working week tips for taking a proactive approach to mental health:
Routine – it’s vital if you want to be motivated that you set a routine. Make sure you get up at a decent time and start work at 9am.
To do list – Start by writing a small list of work to achieve, lower your expectations and work towards ticking all those goals even if they are small.
Talk to someone – If you have a work buddy you’d usually chew the fat with, why change? Give them a call, maybe first thing – helps you both realise you aren’t alone.
Food and drink – Make sure you eat properly and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Fresh air – At lunch time take your walk or sit outside, put your phone down, look around and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Finish at 5 – Don’t be tempted to work into the evening, try and finish up around the same time as you would normally.
Put the phone down – After “work” is over, try to forget about it. Enjoy time with a partner or family.
Wine O’clock – It’s tempting to hit the wine each night, we’re under stress. But if you didn’t booze like this before, time to reduce the alcohol.
Sleep – Decent bedtime and try and get 8 hours solid sleep if possible.
Plan for the other side – This will end, and when it does you need to be in the best shape possible to seize any opportunities. Get planning!
“It’s crucially important not to under-estimate the stress of the current situation. It’s horrendous for us all – you need to get in a positive routine, speak to people and plan for the future”, concludes Ratcliffe, “because you need to come out of this in the best form to take advantage of the opportunities it will create”.