I’ve just finished my 2nd week of working from home. For me I find it ok. I used to work from home a lot in the past but that was more flexible as I worked for myself so I could pick and choose my hours. This time round I’ve found it a bit more challenging having to work within a more rigid time structure. I’m not afforded the luxury of flexible working but its ok as I like routine.
For a lot of colleagues though, it has been quite a negative experience. Thrust into effective isolation coupled with a tsunami of contact has made the adjustment for them really difficult, stressful and anxious.
Working from home can be such as positive experience if you get the work/life balance right between the office and home
I’m employed as a team leader first and foremost but I’m also a volunteer Wellbeing Champion and qualified Mental Health First Aider. For the past two weeks those roles have been reversed. I have been a counsellor, therapist and friend to so many of my colleagues that are struggling. Its a cliche but SHIT GOT REAL! Amongst the tears and trauma, if there is a positive to take from the last two weeks, it is how important looking after colleague’s wellbeing is. For some, a simple chat helps. I can’t prescribe a fix for those in crisis but I can offer some insight why they feel like they do, why its ok to feel like that and try to help them see things a different way. Its important to assist them in adapting to something so alien to them.
What do I do? Well, mostly I talk. However long that takes or how many times we do it, we talk. For some, we need to make temporary adjustments to stabilise them and then let them take the lead in trying to adapt and get better. A face to face, non-judgmental approach is a very powerful tool. Making colleagues that are struggling realise they are not alone, explaining to them why they feel they do and exploring ways between us we can help them get through that low is an approach I’ve taken and its had some really positive outcomes. I’m not complacent either. Its important to check in on people regularly to ‘catch’ them if they start to fall again. I do this personally and helped by other Team Leaders regularly checking on their reports too.
Through light-hearted emails and some brief YouTube videos I’ve tried to foster a culture of support and an acceptance of how difficult this period is. On the whole it works. I’ve received some nice emails from colleagues thanking me. Sometimes cherry-picking situations or offering advice or tips on how to cope help, but getting through to colleagues on their level in a light hearted way, I think, has more impact than a simple, impersonal email. I don’t mind making a bit of a fool of myself if the message hits home so I am now the Wellbeing Chump.
I work with a hard-working, dedicated team. It breaks my heart to see so many struggle but thats fine. I’ll be there. I know I can help. I just the hope the company now realise how important wellbeing is and step up more when we get back to normal.
I’m not a natural Vlogger but I’ve made a couple of brief videos to help people. This one deals with angry customers who want information they can’t give them. Its an interrogation so its ok to feel like they do