“Despite the many advantages of being able to work from home, there are some pretty big disadvantages to being stuck at home day after day. The lack of social interaction is a glaringly obvious one, especially during a winter lockdown where the end is so painstakingly close, yet we still have to maintain this distant way of life to protect those who are vulnerable.
To help offer a small glimmer of help and hope we have put together some working from home tips to enable you to continue to have a connection and relationship with your colleagues, as we know how lonely it can become being sat at home with just Spotify playlists for company.
Repurpose Your Commute Time
One of the biggest perks to working from home that we can all probably agree on, is having no commute. Instead we can get ourselves up in a good time, relax and start work when we’re ready. However, what if we used this ‘commute’ time as a way to get in touch with colleagues and arrange after work coffees for 45 minutes, or even a breakfast chat first thing? This could be one-to-one, or small groups meeting up away from work to have a conversation, maybe suggest a new series to binge or an upcoming movie.
You could even plan this so you rotate around small groups, everyone talks to everyone, you keep upto date with everyone’s ongoings, as well as enjoying some much needed social interaction to help you feel connected.
Encourage Casual Conversation
When we are working in the office, it’s clear that there is much more to break up the day whether we realise it or not. Maybe it’s that casual chat when you’re grabbing your morning coffee, or a conversation around the weekend’s football results – something we don’t necessarily get at home.
From time to time, call or video chat with your team for up to 5 or 10 minutes, and don’t feel as though it’s off limits. Use your judgement here, but most companies don’t want to lose the team aspect during all of this. Something as simple as having a video chat whilst working in silence can help offer that feel of camaraderie that we’re all missing right now. It may also offer people the opportunity to voice questions about issues, or discuss solutions or brainstorm ideas. Teams is a great option if you’re still trying to decide on a tool to use effectively for this purpose.
Schedule Games Into The Week
Life is all very serious right now and everything seems a little doom and gloom, so why not try and plan a few interactive games for the team. Whether it’s literally a 10 minute quiz, a fun scavenger hunt or three truths and a lie, there are many games to try.
These can be a great way to break up the day, get people interacting with each other and can also offer people the chance to put the busy 9-5 life to one side and enjoy a little bit of fun. I know we’re all busy with work, but enjoyable times for some people can be few and far in between so it’s important to not underestimate the impact this can have one people’s days.
Schedule Regular Meets
We’re unable to go out after work for a good chat and a few drinks, so one way around this is to have an evening after work where you can all go on for an hour or so have a good chat, maybe have a few drinks, some silly games and just enjoy some social interaction with people who are all in the same position. The issue with friendship groups is everyone has a different situation, some are on furlough, some may have lost their jobs, but this way you are all in the same boat. Some of the psychological effects from working from home can be pretty negative, making it even more important to take time to look out for each other – regular planned chats with the team can offer people something to look forward to and help them get through the week.
This is a testing time for everyone right now, and working from home can be extremely tricky, with new survey results showing that 80% of people feel that working from home has impacted their mental health, in a negative way. So whether you feel alone, tired, bored or just generally unhappy. It’s important not to give up home. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Samaritans | www.samaritans.org – 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) | www.thecalmzone.net – 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight)
Mind | www.mind.org.uk – 0300 123 3393
Maytree | www.maytree.org.uk – 020 7263 7070
Elefriends | www.elefriends.org.uk
CALM | www.thecalmzone.net – 0800 58 58 58
Childline | www.childline.org.uk – 0800 1111 Prevention
Papyrus – Prevention of Young Suicide | www.papyrus-uk.org – 0800 068 4141
By: Richard Edwards
Published: 28th January 2021