We’re nearing one year into the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while in some ways we can begin to look towards an incoming ‘next normal,’ or post-pandemic world, we still must take every precaution we can to stop the spread and reach that finish line. We here at BORN are still committed to protecting our employees by enabling them to work remotely and only return to the office once it’s safe to do so.
With over a year of remote work, the fatigue of not seeing colleagues and co-workers does take its toll. We’ve connected with BORN Group’s Director of Human Resources, Jamie Weisberg, to review some of the most effective ways to promote mental health and wellbeing while working remotely. Together, we’ve put together six tips to cultivate a better work from home experience.
- Remember to recharge.
“One of the best things you can do is step away from the computer and take time for yourself.”
Working remotely often means working from home, which can create a blurred line between work and home. When coupled with the many lockdown rules and COVID-19 precautions that can create difficulties in finding daily recreation, it’s essential to remember to take time for yourself and recharge when possible. It’s perfectly healthy and expected to schedule breaks throughout the day to eat and check in on yourself. Even if travel is not available to the extent it was prior to the pandemic, it’s still important as well to take advantage of vacation time to reflect, disengage, and come back more revitalized.
- Connect face-to-face whenever possible.
“Not being able to see the facial expressions of co-workers can have an effect of isolation. Whenever possible, in team or client meetings, take advantage of the camera to read another’s body language while you communicate.”
The pandemic has had a sweeping effect on society by disconnecting us from one another physically. Those of us who live alone and don’t get the opportunity to see people at the same intervals as prior may especially feel a sense of isolation from work. It’s a great change from the past to be coordinating on projects and working to the degree that we do without the level of communication that body language provides. Thus, it can go a long way to utilize video conferencing wherever possible. Whether it’s a team meeting, client meeting, whenever possible, take advantage of the camera to better communicate, understand another’s tone and intent, and generally ease your conversation.
- Dress for success.
“Brightening your appearance even while at home can set you in the mindset of mindful work.”
Another healthy practice that can fall into neglect via remote work is to tend to one’s appearance daily. The rituals of trimming, make-up and skincare, and the regular haircut as well as dressing presentably and geared to work all have noted effects in getting us into a mindset of work and stability. Ruts in life can be magnified by neglecting one’s appearance and it can help make you more inclined to break out of them with the sort of self-care that lets you feel eager to tackle the day and presentable to anyone you might come across. Carve out the time – work will always be there, and taking care of oneself is a key priority.
- Exercise throughout the day.
“A lot of real world issues have magnified the effect of the pandemic over the past year, and taking the time to remember to breath and walk can serve as an excellent stress reliever throughout the day.”
With the torrent of difficult news this past year, the effects of isolation are often magnified with malaise and frustration at the world’s problems. It’s important to take the time to avoid burnout by putting aside some time throughout the day to breath mindfully, walk mindfully, and let your mind refresh, to help mollify stress and keep health a priority. Burnout as a whole is huge, especially in the tech industry, and it’s essential for senior leaders to give their team the space to get projects done while in the best state of mind.
- Take advantage of office resources for wellbeing.
“Employees at BORN had already set the precedent of working remotely prior to the pandemic, but one of the challenges of building a work from home culture was reminding our team to take advantage of whatever resources they needed for wellbeing and health.”
Coming up with strategies for teams to check-in and avoid burnout has played a key role in the path of building a work from home culture here at BORN. Without the ease of interaction from physical connections, there’s an increased need for all teams to be visible with the array of resources we offer to help support our employees throughout this intensive time of their career. Being accessible and accommodating to our team is what gets us moving forward each time, and on the employee side, it can go a long way to take advantage of the office resources in context to mental health and wellbeing. Here at BORN, one program that we instituted to help decompress was a biweekly virtual yoga session.
- Continue to build team culture.
“Encouraging teams to connect in a remote time can build the camaraderie that makes work so fulfilling. It’s vital to take the time to build and be creative as a unit.”
Much of our fulfillment from work comes from the work we can do together as a team. While conventional events like company-wide happy hours have proven difficult to execute on virtually, we’ve seen team leads come up with innovative and disrupting ways to keep the team culture moving forward. Scheduling one on one meetings wherever possible, going for “walk and talks” as an alternative to the happy hour, or relegating a time for social connection within the team all will yield their own returns in fostering a mindful and productive culture.