Working from home is more stressful than we thought. Although pressure building up can change your outlook, here are a few short articles to remind you how you can stay healthy and stay sane.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING
The excitement of the year-end countdown is usually a time of inspiration. When we scream: “… 3… 2… 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!”, we almost always do so with the expectation that things are getting better in real time.
The change of year is meant to coincide with a change in outlook. It gives everyone the chance to reimagine their lives and reconfigure their behaviour by virtue of what the calendar says. Therein lies the beauty of new year’s hope: Whatever situation we’re facing will improve, and that we can reach whatever we aspire to, if we start trying again.
But of course, 2020 wasn’t like most years by any stretch of the imagination.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
Everybody knows the pandemic has caused absolute havoc and the effects are still being felt today. Even at this very moment, our lives are yet to get back to normal. And there’s no point in hiding that it sucks!
- The lockdown re-escalation has had an impact on our lives
- The festive season was not as festive as many would’ve hoped
- The future is filled with uncertainty, which casts doubt on how we can survive 2021
…THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
But that doesn’t mean we should lose hope.
Especially in the professional sense, difficulties faced can be looked at as opportunities to change the status quo long after the eradication of the virus.
We have the unique opportunity responsibility to reassess how work treats us, and how we treat the people we work with.
NEW YEAR, NEW WE?
We can already tell that the new vibe for 2021 is leading with empathy. And we aren’t the only ones. The interwebz are abound with advice on how and why you should fine-tune your EQ and take mental health seriously. Because before all, we’re people.
And given that we need to look out for each other, we want to give you a peek into our reading list of a few short pieces that’ll help you keep your head in the game, in whatever you do.
1. CANCEL YOUR GUILT TRIP
Work From Home on a mass scale has come with surprises. While the consensus is that working from home leads to increased productivity, there are a few unintended consequences.
Since the pretext of our current remote work model is a global pandemic that’s kept us all in our homes, it feels less revolutionary and more like house arrest. Hence, it’s easy to understand how adding work stress to that equation may not be ideal for mental health.
In this piece, Elizabeth Pearson describes how remote work can cause anxiety and can lead to the blurring of business hours and personal time.
Thankfully, Pearson reminds us of some of the things we should think about whenever the guilt of feeling like we haven’t done enough creeps in. Read more here.
2. YOU’RE NOT ON MUTE
It’s easy to feel isolated in Work From Home scenarios. This pandemic has driven us apart and having no one to talk to can compound the darkness.
Workplace culture has a lot to do with how open the lines of communication have been during the remote work experiment. Of course, there’s immense value in keeping abreast with what others in your department and organisation are working on.
Larry English takes it further and supposes even more value in cultivating the kind of workplace where people keep abreast with how others in the business are feeling.
Here are some of the ways you can make sure everyone feels heard and has the support of the organisation in coping.
3. BECOME A SAFE SPACE
Mental health issues in the workplace need to be destigmatized. We should ensure open and honest discussions around the struggles people live with.
DeAnne Aussem suggests the use of communication to share personal experiences to build trust and understanding among members of an organisation. Aussem shares her story of how frustration from her holiday was carried over into work, and how she used this to cultivate open communication.
We are all responsible for fostering a healthy and productive relationship with work. That starts from fostering the type of relations where we can address what it means to experience a mental health crisis.
This also involves listening and being there for our colleagues when they need us. Read here for some of the best ways to destigmatize mental health in the workplace.
Empathetic leadership is the best way to mitigate the pandemic’s effect on our well-being.
PREDICTING THE UNPREDICTABLE
One can’t say what will happen over the course of 2021. And last year showed us that it wouldn’t be wise to try. But here’s our one prediction anyway:
This year will be won by empathy, not enigma. Leaders who can tap into the inner workings of their colleagues on a human level will thrive. Those able to keep an inclusive culture within their teams, where mental health bears no stigma, and people are allowed to work freely will harvest the fruits of productivity gains.
Conversely, the mercurial super-soldiers who go at it alone and those who refuse to accept the humanness of their employees will struggle. The divisive, exploitative, and those who incubate an environment of hostility and disparity will find it harder to motivate their remote workforce.
In short, mental health will translate into wealth, as long as the world continues to work from anywhere. This year is an exciting opportunity to reclaim the losses of 2020 as well as chart a new path forward.