22 April 2021
“Mobility/Home office” and “Diversity & Inclusion” are two rather novel topics, yet quite popular in 2020/2021. They are being discussed globally in almost every workplace. Home office is self-explanatory, but what is interesting to see, is how companies adopt strategies to promote diversity and inclusion. What instantly comes to my mind is gender and race, but there are of course many other factors that contribute to the diversity and inclusion paradigm such as age, religious background, physical abilities and disabilities, etc…
Another relatively new concept that is contributing to a growing trend during the pandemic is “mental health” or “employee wellness”. The pandemic has definitely played a key role in accelerating the importance of this element and in it becoming embedded in the culture of many companies. This means that we will start to see more companies adopt employee wellness in some way or another, be it through ensuring adequate overtime compensation is duly processed (especially in home office situations), workshops with in-house or third party psychologists/counsellors or even have the cost of a few therapy sessions paid out or built into their medical insurance programs. Companies are increasingly more keen to get the message across that people’s safety comes first and together with that, increasing awareness of the importance of mental health. Work-life balance will and should be an integral part of any healthy work environment.
Working from home has become a norm now and while it is an essential part of business continuity plans, it is nonetheless hard on many people. It has its advantages. But in the long run and when it is not done by choice, it can have an adverse effect. It can disrupt routines, affect people’s mental and physical health, increase frustrations derived from too many ‘’virtual situations’’. We naturally need to engage with others, to meet others face to face, walk to work or back home, or take the train or a cab and simply spend time outside. Humans are instinctively social beings. That being said, it’s not a surprise that engaging through a screen only can be extremely difficult for many.
On the brighter side, I have recently seen a post by one of my connections on LinkedIn mentioning how the pandemic, as difficult as it has been, has actually simplified and brought down some barriers that we have kept up in the workplace under the umbrella of ‘being professional’. Starting with kids and babies in the background to kitchen noise, less makeup and generally more relaxed settings. In many cases and from my experience that has proven to be true, the ‘screen’ really forces us to get in touch and make that conversation just a little bit more comfortable before the meeting kicks off. We are humans, we adapt, and we evolve, so let us hope for a new era with a better work-life balance.
Below are a few tried and tested tips to help you cope with the work from home routine:
- Create a small area as your workspace, a place from which you can completely disconnect once you have logged off work. This is important to separate your working hours from your ‘home time’ alone or with family and friends.
- Try to occasionally work in an outdoor space, like your garden or balcony or where permitted, a café with an outdoor area to get some fresh air and a change of scenery.
- Getting up for work at least an hour before the working day starts is a good way to keep parts of your old routine like making your coffee or tea, getting into comfortable clothes and reading the news or scrolling through your social media feed!
- Try to take regular but short breaks to disconnect from screen time.
- Exercise during your lunch break – a short 15 – 20 minute YouTube video will uplift your mood and get you really energized in the middle of the day – the time when you need it most!