COVID19 has forced a large portion of the UK’s workforce to pack up their office desks and move into their new working from home offices. For some this may be welcomed, allowing for a change of scenery, reducing commute times and providing the opportunity to work in your PJ’s would make it difficult for some to complain.
But for how long will perks like this make working from home bearable? The oneHR team has almost finished their first-week #WFH and for the majority of us, it seems business as usual. Yet it is important as business owners and members of the HR department that you recognise how working from home for long periods of time can be a lonely and isolating experience, and ultimately can have a negative impact on staff mental health and wellbeing.
Our previous article has helpful tips on ways to stay motivated whilst working from home and keep healthy both physically and mentally. However, as it seems the home office is our only office for the foreseeable future, it is worthwhile explaining further guidance on how businesses and staff can support each other and maintain sound mental health.
What businesses can do to support their staff’s mental health whilst working from home?
Working from home can be a difficult time for all staff. Although there is a lot a business can do to support them, for example;
Unity & togetherness – We all know working from home can be lonely, whether it’s doing the coffee run for one or not being able to catch up on the latest Love Island episode, it can be a little overwhelming not being able to have a chit chat to your desk buddy. A simple step to combat this is to spend time doing activities other than work as a business.
This could be as simple as hosting a quiz in the WhatsApp group or taking part in a team social media post. For example, some of the oneHR team took part in a #WFH social media post.
Staff exercises like social media posts or playing a simple quiz can help break up staff’s workday and encourage them to speak about something other than their work. This will bring back a sense of normality and unity which you would usually have in an office.
Team calls & showing your face – Not everything should be done over text or emails. It is important to spend time having regular catchups and meetings over video call. Using video calls rather than voice or text will improve team morale but also will get your staff into a good habit of waking up on time, showering and getting properly dressed. This encourages routine and accountability which ultimately will help with mental health.
What you can do to improve your mental health whilst working from home?
Acknowledge the change – The thought of working from home may seem exciting but the truth is it can be more challenging that it seems. Although the work you will be completing and doing each day is much the same, your workplace environment is a polar opposite. Your home is filled with distractions which you simply would not come across whilst working in your business’s office.
It is important to prepare for a slow transition; you may not be as productive or may face challenges you have not faced in your role before, but you must remain positive and optimistic. Over time you will see improvements whilst working from home.
Create a routine – Getting up and ready to start the day around your normal working time helps stick with your healthy business as usual routine. Starting your day at a specific routine time is just as important as ending your day at a specific routine time. Don’t let your work time drag on throughout the evening or past normal working hours, time relaxing with those you live with is just as important! This separation of work life and home life will enable you to appreciate your downtime with family and friends and remain productive motivated during work hours.
If working from home is beginning to negatively affect your mental health, please open up and speak to someone in your business that can help.
You can also visit the ‘Hub of Hope’ app which is a fantastic resource that can help direct you to the specialist help you need: https://chasingthestigma.co.uk/hub-of-hope/
If you would like any advice on how you can improve your mental health support for staff whilst working from home, please contact us.