An account of working from home in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Charlotte Schreurs.
As the UK braces for the full COVID-19 impact, everyone has been asked to work from home, indefinitely. My initial reaction to this was calm – I normally safeguard and treasure my one day a week working from home. It keeps me balanced through a hectic week in the office. It is a benefit I am grateful for.
However, knowing that we are working from home, isolated for the foreseeable future, did cause anxiety. As the whole business adjusted, the first couple of days were taken over by back to back video calls – with no time to think about the situation. Apart from not going into the office, life was going on as normal.
Now that schools are shutting and other businesses have been forced to close, the reality of the situation is kicking in – this is going to go on for a lot longer and with no definitive end date.
Struggling with mental health is tough in a normal world, where your schedule is predictable, and you can rely on a number on constants. But in a world where there are daily changes to government advice, as well as warnings flooded across the news and social media 24/7, anxiety shoots through the roof.
No socialising means increased isolation and ruminating on your own thoughts increase. This is not going to be an easy time for anyone.
On top of personal thoughts and fears, businesses will go through an increasingly tough time, as we see fewer people in work, and increases in concern related to financial security.
This isn’t just a personal struggle or just a professional struggle; COVID19 will impact every aspect of our lives.
In order to support my personal well-being, and the well-being of those around me, I am concentrating my energy on the variables that I can control and trusting in those around me to support me through this time.
We’ve got our immediate teams, and our businesses behind us to get us through this. I’ve got people checking in on me on a daily basis, not just for work, but also for a chat. And my company is hosting weekly online meetings, yoga sessions, digital pubs and quizzes to keep spirits up and individuals connected while we follow advice to stay at home.
We got to pull together, to keep us and businesses afloat…So here are some tips to help us all get through:
- Make sure your home is your safe space. Do whatever you need to do e.g candles, music playing in the background & keeping it tidy
- Do have those video conferences with video on. Seeing your faces does make us all feel a bit less lonely.
- Do try and keep a routine by keeping to your working hours, and have your lunchtime break. If allowed – and if safe, go out for a little walk. Fresh air, and seeing the world does do wonders
- Keep talking – whether to colleagues or friends and family – it’s important to share how you are feeling, and what you are feeling
- Try to get some exercise whether it’s a brisk walk, a run or some homebound yoga
- If you have medication – please make sure you have enough to get through and keep taking it.
- Please check in on your colleagues, friends, neighbours etc
- Lastly – if all those pings of messages, emails, texts and calls get too much – turn everything off for an hour a day to just get your work done – or a yoga session in.