These are bizarre times. At TopLine, we’ve pretty much been working from home since the first lockdown, so we haven’t seen each other outside of a video call for months. Meanwhile, working from home makes it easy for the lines between our work lives and our personal lives to become blurred.
At our video production agency and B2B PR agency, we’re all doing our best to support one another. Mental health has always been and will always be a top priority for TopLine – primarily because it’s important for our people, but also because burnout is bad for business. Many businesses shy away from investing in mental health, but you can’t put a price on productivity and morale, especially at a time like this.
That’s why we decided to speak to Petra Velzeboer, an expert in mental health in the workplace, to gain some insight on implementing strategies to support our mental health while we’re all working from home. Here’s what she had to say:
Caring for your mental health while working from home
Whilst for many, the global pandemic has given unprecedented flexibility in terms of work, eight months down the line and working from home is starting to take its toll on the majority of people that are suddenly living and working within the same four walls.
The situation is one that we would never have had the foresight to plan for, and so dealing with it and learning to cope is new territory for everybody.
As well as uncertainty, because of home-working, we are all missing out on one of the most important forms of connection that usually provides safety – positive social interaction. Even moments of connection that may seem small do have a positive effect (e.g. saying hello to someone while fixing a drink or telling a colleague their new hairstyle looks good). We are hugely impacted by the lack of positive social interaction right now which is also having a detrimental effect.
So, what can we do to ensure we remain positive when working from home?
Get into a routine – Without this, it can be easy to work or be available 24/7, which is actually bad for productivity. Having a morning routine of some sort works wonders. For me, exercise, journaling and writing down three things I’m grateful for radically change my perspective for the day. Similarly, some prefer to switch off at a specific time and exercise in the evening or lunchtime. Whatever works best for you, set a routine and stick to it.
Prioritise healthy habits – This will help to remain positive and focused and allow us to carry out our best work. A book I really recommend, ‘Burnout: the Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle,’ talks about how to complete stress cycles, and the number one way is through physical activity. That’s any form of movement whatsoever: running, walking, stretching, and laughing – and within your ‘bubble,’ 20-second hugs and 6-second kisses help.
Some days nothing will help, and that’s ok – The current situation is not normal. We all have bad days, and we are going to have more. It’s ok to feel lonely, frustrated and overwhelmed, as long as we learn that we can write these days off and come back tomorrow feeling positive. If you are feeling low, tell colleagues how you are feeling. On such days it is better to make an effort to communicate by video or telephone rather than email or instant message.
Recognising and changing mindset – Be aware of how your mindset shifts and changes from day to day, and what can trigger negatives. Make a conscious effort to regularly think about the positives that can be taken from this situation. There are many advantages to working from home, including being closer to childcare, saving on commuting and lunches, and flexible working. Focusing on the positives gives us better energy and focus and makes us better communicators with our teams and networks.
We’re still doing our best to provide top-quality digital PR services, whether we’re in the office or working from home. Contact us to learn more.