Are you working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak? Us, too.
Even though we’ve got team members dotted all over the country (and world!), exclusively working from home is new to many of us at Forward Action.
We know that isolation can cause wellbeing to dip, so our team got together (virtually) to get an action plan in place.
Whether you’re brand new to working from home or just looking for some tips, here are some new things we’re trying to keep us all feeling healthy, happy, and connected during these challenging times.
1) Stay in touch with colleagues…
So much of our day to day communication is done via Slack and email. But we wanted more opportunities to check in face to face – so something that used to be an email is now a phone call, and we’re adding 5 minutes to the start of our Zoom meetings for a quick catch up.
2) … and not just about projects and deadlines
Making time every day for a cuppa and a chat is really boosting our spirits – some of our teams even have it in the calendar. In addition to the regular video calls we do every morning to plan for the day, we’re also adding virtual games, video-call lunches, and remote socials into the mix to keep us connected.
3) Make more time to move
It’s easy to get stagnant at home so we’re making a point to take calls away from the desk (either on the sofa or al fresco). We’ve also discovered a mutual love of free Youtube workouts. Right now it’s Team Yoga with Adriene versus Team Joe Wicks.
4) Pay extra attention to ergonomic set-up
Colleagues who used to come into the office are suddenly missing the desk set-up (and coffee machine). We made it a priority to get everyone kitted out with ergonomic keyboards, monitors, laptop stands and anything else we need to be comfortable. Since we might be home for a while, we can’t recommend this enough: it’s worth the investment.
5) Get out of the house at every opportunity
We’re all social distancing, but we can still get out in nature. So whether it’s walking round the block as a ‘commute’ before we arrive at our home desks, a 20 minute power-walk at lunch, or borrowing the neighbour’s dog for a walk – we’re taking proactive steps to keep cabin fever at bay.
6) Take your lunch break – no excuses
We’re serious: this is so important to staying well, but can often be the first thing to go when you’re stressed or anxious. We all tell each other when we’re breaking for lunch, so we’re accountable to the team, and we eat away from our laptops with a book, podcast or episode of something funny.
7) Pepper in mood boosts
It’s the little ‘lifts’ that we miss – like laughing at a Youtube video or cooing over a photo of a colleague’s puppy. We’re trying to add those moments back into the day as much as possible. We’ve got a dedicated email thread and Slack channel for silly stuff, music recommendations, baby pics, house plant progress…
8) Adapt to your team’s needs
This is one for the managers – we’ve noticed that everyone is completely different when it comes to coping with this challenge, so we’re embracing that difference. We’ve reduced our core desk hours and given colleagues more scope to shape their working day. This maximises productivity, motivation, and trust in the team.
9) Set clear boundaries between home and work
There isn’t a clear divide between work and home right now, and that’s tricky for our mental health. Some of us are enforcing those boundaries by going for a walk, changing clothes, or putting away our laptops to signal the end of the work day.
10) Limit exposure to the negatives
When you’re at home almost 24/7 it’s tempting to get trapped in a spiral of negative news and social media. One of our team has come up with a timetable for when they are allowed to check the news – 5 minutes maximum at 9am, 12pm and 5pm.
We hope this helps your team, too. All we can do in these challenging times is look out for each other’s wellbeing, be kind, and support everyone to adapt in whatever way they need. And of course, follow government advice to stay safe. If you’ve got any helpful tips for working from home, we’d love to hear them, so get in touch.