Some advice for those who may be facing work struggles during these uncertain times
Whether paid or unpaid, work is an important component of our wellbeing, providing us with a sense of purpose, improving our confidence and self-esteem. In an ideal world our work feels valued and meaningful, yet in recent years work-related stress and anxiety has become a growing trend.
Many of us struggle to attain a good work/life balance and this has been compounded by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
With many businesses forced to close, remote working has become commonplace but the demands of working from home can be just as complicated as going out to work.
To help you navigate these challenges and uncertainties, we’ve put together some general advice to protect and improve your wellbeing at work, along with some specific tips for remote working.
Dealing with Problems
Knowing how you work best and being aware of your personal stress triggers is a useful place to start improving your wellbeing at work. Triggers could include tight deadlines, heavy workload, conflicts with colleagues and general organisational change.
Once you’ve identified potential issues, talk to your manager about extra support in that area which might include negotiating deadlines with you before they are set, delegating certain tasks to other colleagues or having extra training.
It’s important to be transparent and have both a clear channel of communication and a feedback system in place to discuss what is and isn’t working. Try to work towards shared solutions. Developing a non-judgemental culture and supportive atmosphere will also help to minimise work-related stress.
Time and Space
Wherever you are working it is important to work defined hours and take regular breaks. If you prefer to take three 20-minute breaks rather than an hour for lunch, or two 30-minute breaks, ask for more flexibility.
During your breaks try to practise some self-care; talk to a colleague about non-work matters, stretch, enjoy a coffee, listen to some music or take a short walk. Also, do try to keep your work space clean and tidy - plants, photographs and personal mementoes are all positive mood enhancers.
Remote Working Tips
- Structure your day with specific times for work to maintain the distinction between personal and professional life.
- If using collaborative working platforms develop a feedback system to ensure optimum efficiency.
- Address any issues as they arise with your line manager and instigate a weekly feedback session.
- Create a virtual support group with colleagues to overcome social isolation – scheduling coffee breaks helps to maintain a sense of community.
- If necessary, ask for greater flexibility to accommodate home schooling or childcare.
- Prioritise good hydration, nutrition, exercise and sleep.
- If you enjoy remote working consider combining it with a return to the workplace.