There are still many people who do not want to work from home.
Not every day. It’s not that they don’t want to work remotely; it’s just that they don’t want to work from home all the time.
Why? Because they need time off from their home life. It can sometimes be easy to draw lines between personal and professional life when working from home, and other times not.
People were faced with the challenge/opportunity of working remotely when the pandemic began. For many people, this was their first experience working from home, and they were unprepared.
There are numerous advantages, but it can be challenging to focus when you do not have the best possible home environment. This results in working longer hours and added stress from juggling multiple responsibilities and spreading your attention across various things.
When working from home it becomes increasingly hard to separate personal issues from your professional life.
What would you do if you suddenly had a mental breakdown during an online peer meeting?
- Say you have a bad connection and leave?
- Chat about your need to retrieve for a while and shortly explain you are dealing with a personal issue that you have failed to handle better?
- Continue to participate in the call despite being visibly unwell and turn the participants’ attention towards you and what is causing you distress?
Is it possible that depending on the workplace culture your answer might be very different?
The fact is there is no correct answer. But one thing is certain: being vulnerable should be acceptable. Moreover, given the current situation, everyone is facing their own challenges when dealing with the COVID pandemic.
As we mentioned in our last article The War for Talent, it’s no wonder that many people are actually considering changing jobs or even careers. Many are the reasons: a change in priorities, feeling lack of support and safety from employers throughout the pandemic, a demand for better work culture, a need to adjust their job to suit lifestyle preferences, just to name a few.
Even though it has also been becoming increasingly hard for employees to set clear boundaries when working from and at home, these should be a priority and one of the first steps to take when creating a healthy work-life balance.
“I do not want to work from home and do not have a physical office. Where can I work from?”
The options at the moment depend on where you are located given the current COVID restrictions:
- If possible, choose a co-working space close to your house. You can discuss your situation and talk about the possibility of the company covering the cost of the workspace.
Otherwise, you can find a coffee shop or a library and retreat into a quiet place when taking calls and having meetings.
- If you are unable to leave the house and have no other available workspace, create your work bubble. Make your boundaries known to everyone and find a comfortable and private workspace to work in.
As much as possible, make sure that your sleeping space isn’t visible on your eyesight to avoid feeling easy and drawn to sleep.
And, because simple things work best, here are some helpful tips and habits to remember:
- Remember to avoid digital fatigue and to plan strategies for achieving daily or weekly professional objectives and goals. Limit screen time by finding other activities and pastimes to do besides watching TV or Netflix.
- Allot at least 10 minutes of not checking your mobile phone or any device after waking up and 30 minutes of digital detox before going to bed.
- Integrate social interactions to avoid loneliness, whether it’s a virtual coffee or a weekly dinner with close friends.
- Do exercise and schedule some self-care time in your calendar. Don’t limit yourself from allotting time for self-care, as it is imperative to combat fatigue even after these trying times.
- Always keep yourself hydrated.
These are minor details that significantly impact people’s lives in ways that not everyone is aware of.
This brings up the issue of mental health, which many people have been struggling with even before the COVID pandemic.
Fear for your own safety and the safety of your loved ones, having to face an unknown future, and months of social isolation all add up to thousands of people feeling emotionally distressed.
Mental health is a necessity, but it remains a taboo subject for many people. It is up to each of us to break it by seeking professional help and sharing our needs with those with whom we work and live, as it is not always easy to go through it alone.
The less we know about ourselves and our needs, the more likely we are to experience burnout and depression.
It may still be a challenge for most people to get to know themselves; that’s why you must allow yourself to rest from working all the time and give yourself that much-needed self-care and alone time. This will help you relax and rejuvenate and provide you with time to realize and reflect on things that you’re not able to notice because of being focused on too much work.
Emotional intelligence is important for finding a work-life balance and helps us deal with strong emotions like anxiety and stress.
Keep in mind that being mentally healthy does not mean always feeling upbeat and happy. Be aware of toxic positivity which is vastly spread across social media channels and adopted in many workplaces nowadays. It indirectly promotes the concealment of negative emotional states and mental/psychological illnesses, leaving those who suffer from any of these with the pressure of pretending they are “doing great”. Even on a job platform like LinkedIn, professionals try to portray themselves as balanced people with successful careers, although this is not always the case.
Again, this is why we need to set boundaries between work time and personal time. We all need to understand that we have our own pace and don’t need to be too pressured by other people’s timelines.
Making yourself vulnerable has always been interpreted as lacking emotional intelligence, strength, and reliability. But is it true?
When it comes to sharing your own problems and personal life at work, use common sense and share as much information as you find adequate and feel comfortable with: allow yourself to be transparent when possible in sharing what is going on rather than having to lie about it.
Nowadays, it takes more courage to be vulnerable than it is to simulate being happy. And with every action, each of us helps set the standard for our workplace.
How many barriers can you break in your organization to make everyone feel comfortable being themselves?
Allow yourself to be human. And allow others to do the same.
P.S. WE CHALLENGE YOU:
Every year on October 10th, World Mental Health Day is celebrated. Consider what you can do this year to make your employees feel like they work in a safe environment where they can have open and honest conversations about their mental and emotional health. One simple action that could help you as an organization to achieve more mental health inclusiveness and transparency.