Could flexible working be the key for better wellbeing?
During Mental Health Awareness Week last month, in the UK and for seven days, the nation paid itself some attention and shone a light on the impact of work and COVID-19 on our wellbeing. For the rest of the year, however, we must continue to look after each other and our mental health in and out of work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on our mental health. Our working environments, practices and job security have been thrown into doubt and this uncertainty and anxiety can negatively impact physical and mental wellbeing. Promoted lately to increase productivity and work-life balance is flexible working, as New Zealand's PM Jacinda Arden and Facebook have come out as proponents of a new working strategy post-lockdown. Facebook has shifted towards a more remote workforce as a long term trend and Ardern also suggested a four-day working week, partly to boost tourism in the country.
Chris Biggs, Managing Director of chartered accountancy firm, Theta Financial Reporting, has given his tips on how to look after the mental health now and for the rest of the year.
This is a difficult time for people who have not even been directly affected by the Coronavirus, nevermind those who have tragically lost family and friends, so it is more important than ever to look after our mental health and be there for one another. We must continue to think about our mental health and take positive steps to improve it whenever possible.
Here are my tips to improve wellbeing in the workplace:
As Facebook and Jacinda Arden suggested a few weeks ago, flexible working is a great way to separate work and home life. It allows people to balance their family and professional commitments gives people the opportunity to focus on one task at a time.
Trying to work at home in the company of small children is difficult, so try and work, if your manager allows you to, around your family commitments. This will help you focus on the job at hand and make you more present for both your family and your team at work.
Remember to sign off
Working at home during the lockdown period has meant that many people have been working above and beyond their normal hours. This may look like dedicated, hard work, but after a certain point, it is simply presenteeism, so sign off, utilise your evenings to recharge and be more productive the next day.
Keep in touch
As we haven't been able to spend as much time with people as we may have wanted to over the past few months, it has never been more important than now to drop someone a text, tweet or a call, just to check in on them. It has huge mental health benefits and if something is up with a friend or family member, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Remember to keep in contact with your team members, friends and family, organise quizzes, social video drinks or a working lunch. End of week socials are a great thing to look forward to and can help you forget the stresses and strains of the working week.