Coping with Home Working During Covid-19 “Are you a happy home worker or is staying in stressing you out?”

April is the UK’s Stress Awareness Month and it couldn’t really have come at a better time. 

We have all experienced varying levels of stress in our lives, in fact, according to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. I’m guessing if that survey was done right now the results would be a lot higher.

The impact of Covid-19 is being felt by everyone and for those working from home for the first time it is going to take some adaptation and potentially be quite challenging. I mean who would have thought you would be juggling your job with home schooling and keeping the kids entertained, planning for and ensuring you have enough food and essentials in the cupboard (which can mean an hour’s queue outside the supermarket) and staying in touch and helping out family and friends that now only exist in a virtual world. No wonder you feel frazzled!  Even if you are a seasoned home worker the current extra pressures can make doing your job a struggle.

However, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure working from home can be less of a stress and more efficient, effective and effortless (well almost!).

20 April 2020

It’s not BAU!

The first thing to accept is that it’s not Business As Usual. No business, no organisation, no government is operating this way, so don’t expect that you should either. Changes and compromises have been made all over the place so it’s ok for you to do so too.

Talk with your manager

It’s important that you and your employer are on the same page.  Don’t expect them to know your personal situation and how you are coping. They are not mind readers and are likely to have many things they are contending with as well, both with work and home life.  At the end of the day we are all the same, the virus can affect anyone of us as we have seen, no matter what your position in life. The reality of this situation is they are just as likely to understand your challenges as they are facing them too and will appreciate the opportunity to talk. Problems aired are problems shared and automatically become less stressful. From here strategies can be put into place to move things forward into a better place.

Be kind to yourself

Stress manifests itself in many ways but is mostly caused by expecting too much of yourself. These may well be unprecedented times but that doesn’t mean you have to turn into a superhero. Be realistic in what you can achieve in your working day given the other obligations that are now required of you. Break your work up into manageable segments as focusing for too long on one thing is never effective. Take breaks, go and get your hour exercise with the family or your partner or dog and enjoy this time you now have together. Be present with one another, with nature and most importantly yourself, acknowledging how you feel and just letting it be. You’ll find any stresses will start to dissipate as your head clears and you can see more clearly. 

Get connected and have fun!

Covid has brought about much stress and sadness so there’s now even more reason to have some fun. Home workers are getting together in chat rooms for coffee breaks. They are sharing photos on Instagram of their new home office set-ups and new co-workers – their pets. Never before have so many people from all over the world come together to support each other through these tough times. People are making new friends, having a laugh and sharing how they are getting through the day. 

Coping with Covid, I believe, has created some positive outcomes. It’s shown us we are not alone as the sense of community and togetherness has never felt so strong. It’s shown us that we can work in new ways and adapt quickly. And it’s brought to the fore the role of flexible working and how, when managed correctly, can create a better life:work balance that reaps benefits for both employers and employees.