Just last year, the title of this post would have sounded unfamiliar—even science fiction-y. Now, however, it’s a common and increasingly important topic of conversation. It’s no secret that the last few months have been hard on the average American worker. Back in April, we talked about how remote working led to an increased workday, and the importance of physical and mental separation from work. Unfortunately, the remote work situation has continued to drag on (with no real end in sight) for the majority of displaced workers, and that change comes with a heavy toll.
Along with an extended workday and the added pressure to keep up productivity in an increasingly competitive workforce, the isolation of working remotely can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression. This transition can be especially difficult for employees who have grown accustomed to rich, team-centered company cultures.
So, how do you continue to adapt and thrive in a constantly changing, often overwhelming and disruptive remote work environment? We’re here to give you a few ideas for staying sane while staying home, hopefully to help make this time a little more manageable:
If you’re an employee…
- Keep your workspace clean. Studies have shown that a clean workspace can improve productivity, lower stress and even increase confidence, so taking a few minutes to organize and declutter every day is well worth your time.
- Get some fresh air. Feeling depressed or overworked? Get out of your chair and head outside. Taking a few minutes to reconnect with nature is a great way to improve your mood, improve your immune system and boost your energy levels.
- Make sure you’re exposed to natural light. There are so many benefits that come from working in natural light! Not only does it boost vitamin D, which reduces the risk of several serious diseases, it can also improve sleep, ward off seasonal depression and decrease stress levels. So set up in front of a window, in the garden, or anywhere else you can feel the sunshine on your shoulders.
- Take short, frequent breaks. There’s a reason that time management strategies like the Pomodoro Technique have become so popular—they work! According to Wikipedia, the “technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.” Strategies like these that incorporate frequent breaks are a great way to help you reset, boost productivity and accomplish the most important tasks first.
- Turn your computer off at the end of the day. When your computer is on or just sleeping, it’s easy to keep coming back to it—even when your workday is officially over. Turning the machine off creates a level of separation that is necessary when your workspace and your living space are cohabitating.
- On that note: where possible, create a workspace that can be separated from your living area. Make sure you have a designated spot to work that you can physically leave for extended breaks and at the end of the day. This will keep your work from bleeding over into your precious personal time.
- Make time for the people that matter most. If you’re a parent (or a pet parent), chances are pretty good that you’re never truly alone right now. It’s easy to experience guilt over not being able to spend as much quality time as you’d like with your kids during the day, so be sure take a couple of short breaks to acknowledge them and their needs when you can. Five minutes of throwing a ball for your dog or building a fort with your child can provide a great mental boost for everyone in the family.
- Eat lunch with the people you love. Whether that’s a roommate, child, parent, spouse, or dog, take advantage of your lunch break to reconnect and foster relationships.
- Cook foods that you enjoy. If you find yourself counting down to your lunch break lately, make that time away from your desk extra exciting by cooking your favorite foods, or ordering from your local restaurant of choice.
- Pick up hobbies. Bonus points if they’re hobbies that you can squeeze in for a few minutes here or there during designated break times. You can take up knitting, learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube, read something inspiring, or dabble in water coloring. The possibilities are endless!
- Take a walk. Walking is great for your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. It can increase heart and lung fitness, strengthen your body, boost your energy, clear your mind and improve your overall emotional state. Some studies have even indicated that walking can increase your lifespan! Whether you’re an early riser who can squeeze in a quick walk before clocking in or only have time for a quick jaunt around the block at lunch, walking is one of the easiest (and least expensive) forms of therapy around.
If you’re an employer…
- Provide vital resources for your employees. We’re living in difficult times—continue to encourage your employees to reach out if they are in need of financial, physical or mental health assistance. Consider compiling a list of resources in advance, including crisis hotline numbers, contact information for therapists, solutions to food insecurity and more.
- Find a need and fill it. Whether it’s in your own workforce or in the community, there are a lot of beneficial ways to spend any extra funds you may have. You can send your employees lunch purchased from a local restaurant, donate to a crisis prevention center, provide bonuses, or more. Low on funds? Donate your time—consider organizing a volunteer effort at the local food bank, setting up a blood donation station at the office, or compiling hygiene kits for a homeless shelter.
- Find ways to connect while apart. At Verb, we’re continuing to encourage social interaction with weekly virtual activities. From chalk art and cookie baking competitions to group exercise classes and magic shows, this new tradition has been a great way to help our office socialize and have fun in a safe way.
- Look for new tools that will help you adapt. While nobody is totally immune to the challenges that have come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies have discovered ingenious ways to adapt and overcome those challenges. Movie theaters have transitioned to drive-ins, stores have adopted curbside pickup and tech companies have permanently transitioned to remote workforces. As another example, Verb recently partnered with a local boutique in order to provide an engaging, interactive online shopping experience. This provided a socially intimate environment for the boutique’s owner to promote her merchandise, as well as an enhanced experience for customers were desperately missing the sociality of in-person shopping. If you’re struggling to maintain a remote work experience, it may be time to consider investing in some new tools. Because if you don’t—your competition certainly will.
If you need some more ideas like these, or if you’re looking for some more resources to enable on-the-go work at your company, we’ve got your back. Book a demo today!