The job may be remote, but keep success close.
Like any other work-related feature, remote work also has its challenges and pitfalls that can impact mental and emotional well-being. Being aware of it is important — such as what are the triggers, how can we recognize them, and what we can do about them.
Here are some pointers and suggestions to overcome isolation at work.
recognize the stress pointers of being ‘always on’.
Thanks to our access to digital technologies, we in an ‘always connected’ mode. There’s nothing good or bad about this reality – how we react and respond to it is the key to whether it impacts us advantageously or adversely. When we are constantly on our devices, checking and answering messages and emails with no time boundaries, we run the risk of not allowing our brains to switch off. This is a sure path to stress and anxiety — and ultimately, burnout and depression.
Set out boundaries on your work time, in the manner it works best for you — early start to and sign-off from work, normal work hours, or late start and log out. Identify what works for you, and make it stick.
look for signs of feeling disconnected.
Do you occasionally feel like an outsider at work, because you are not with the team in the office? Do you feel left out of the team, and do you imagine that your peers think less of you for working remote?
Emails, messaging systems, calls and even video calls — they can still leave you feeling disconnected. Digital communication may be efficient, but they can also seem impersonal. Without the body language to back intent and meaning, they can be misconstrued and misinterpreted. This can lead to uneasiness, unfriendliness and even hostile feelings — all of which spell stress.
Besides team meetings where all members are part of discussions and developments, make a conscious effort to reach out to people — on the phone, or in person over coffee, lunch or dinner. Non-work discussions and bantering help to bond and cement relationships on a human level.
proactively seek feedback.
Lack of feedback can lead to feeling of working in a vacuum. You only see what you do and feel, and very little of what your colleagues do or say.
This is real and deserves close attention. As an individual, call your colleagues for brainstorming ideas and work discussions, and to talk about what is happening in the organization. If you’re a manager, proactively keep in touch with your members, on an individual and collective level.
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create a positive work routine.
A work routine goes far beyond improving your productivity. It actually improves your emotional well-being and fitness. Begin your day with exercise, yoga or meditation, and you will see how well it brings you into a positive frame of mind. You may even listen to motivational talks. It bubbles up your endorphins and give you a happy feeling of being in
control. When you set a routine, it evokes respect from those around you and also tells them what is expected of them. Reaching this state of balance keeps your mind lighter, reduces the need to feel ‘always on’, and increases your guiltless happiness in experiencing different facets of life.
While working from home takes away the compulsion to dress formally, don’t slide to working in your pyjamas! In theory, it may not sound like a big deal, but on an intangible and significant level, it robs you of your work identity. Appropriate dressing for work gets you into a professional frame of mind — and is a significant contributor to professional performance. It also sends signals to your colleagues (who see you in video calls), and your family that you are in a work mode and
mood. The vibes that they will send out when they see you dressed for work will reinforces your confidence and keep the ‘blues’ away.
The switch to turning the ‘blues’ to ‘yellows’ is with you — so turn it on!
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