Working during lockdown can be challenging for everyone – that’s why we need to be taking care of employee and colleague wellbeing, as well as our own. We’re being made more aware of the impact that quarantine and isolation can have on mental wellbeing. We need to look after ourselves, our friends, family, colleagues, employees, etc.
However, isolation doesn’t mean zero contact with the outside world. We are lucky enough to live in a time where we can talk to people from across the world within the safety of our own homes. There are so many different platforms designed for virtual contact; Skype, iMessage, Email, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, the list goes on.
Here’s a few things we’ve put together which you can do to help your colleagues, and yourself, stay on top of your social interaction and wellbeing.
Working from home means we don’t have the same opportunity to bump into each other in the office and have a quick, casual chat. It might be that conversations with your team feels scripted because your only form of contact is centred around work. Set aside some time to have genuine conversations with the people you work with and ask them how they’re doing. Do little things together that will improve your team’s mood, this could be making a playlist for work, collective coffee breaks or lunch group calls. Include people that may have been furloughed as a way to keep them involved in the team dynamic.
It’s important to understand that people who are normally very self-sufficient and focused may be struggling without the office structure. People might have young children that don’t understand the situation. This can increase stress and anxiety levels, resulting in a decrease of work quantity and quality. Lend a hand to someone who might be feeling overwhelmed by their workload and if possible, encourage flexible working hours. Emphasise that once their working day is done, work equipment should be put away. A healthy balance between ‘work’ and ‘life’ needs to be established to maintain mental wellbeing.
A team needs to know they can talk to each other and ask for help when they need it. Everyone is busy and trying their best to continue their usual workflow which can lead to people feeling that they’re causing a disturbance or inconvenience when asking for help. Take some time to let people know that even though you’re busy, you’re not too busy to help. Let each other talk and vent without being judgmental. Keep in mind that everyone has different tolerance levels and things that one person may not find a big deal, could be keeping someone else up at night. If you think someone may be struggling in a way that you don’t know how to help, ask them if they want to speak to someone qualified and direct them to help through ‘higher-ups’, HR or Occupational Health.
There hasn’t been a scenario quite like this one in recent history. Finding a good balance between giving direction to your team and smothering them can be a challenge. Decide who within your team needs more attention to keep on track and who is managing well on their own. Encourage group interactions such as, “I’m finished this task but can’t get started on the next until xxx has finished their part. Is there anything I can do to help anyone else?” Each person should have a clear objective and know how to work towards it.
Whilst getting work done is everyone’s main objective, having fun should also be a high priority. Find things that your team can do outside of working hours as a group activity. Things like online yoga classes, quiz nights, cooking competitions, starting a TV show together etc. can be great. Activities like this can really help to bring a group together and improve morale. Even though you can’t be together physically you can still have fun and interact virtually to prevent feeling alone/isolated.
Taking care of employee and colleague wellbeing is important, but so is looking after your own. Click here to read our article on maintaining wellbeing whilst working from home during COVID-19. You can also click here to read the NHS’s Every Mind Matters article on mental wellbeing while staying at home.
If you have any further questions or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org