This might be a global crisis but we are not quite all in the same boat. Yes, we’re all on lockdown but our situations are as unique as ever. This means that some individuals are dealing with complex arrangements at home; partners of key workers, the shielded and their families and loss of income are but a few of the challenges that are being faced on a personal level. That’s before you add in the emotional weight of Covid-19 and the juggling of family and caring responsibilities.
The power of kindness and understanding
We don’t understand what each person or family is coping with at home, therefore how we work or study well together and interact with our colleagues and teachers from home is vitally important.
There are some excellent examples of out-of-office messages from our staff which show such compassion and understanding and some are shown below as examples. Adopting something similar may allow you the chance to be upfront about how and when you will be able to communicate with your colleagues.
“I am working from home until further notice and like many of us, looking after others in my family. Please bear in mind that I will not be able to work the same pattern of hours in a day as I do under normal circumstances”
“I might not always be able to respond straight away but I will get back to you as soon as I can. This may be out of normal business hours however please be assured I do not expect you to read, reply or action any emails that I send to you outside of your normal hours.”
Technology the good and the bad
One of the benefits of technology is how quickly we’ve been able to adapt a lot of our working to a remote setting. A pitfall however is how well connected we are, switching off can become more challenging as we struggle to stick to a regular 9-5 (or anything close to that). The physical separation of office and home is gone and with it means a blurred line between on and off.
It’s okay to turn off notifications when you’re signing off the day, if you’re clear with your colleagues about when you’re available then they’ll know when they can expect a reply.
Listen to what your body and mind needs
Burnout is a major problem in society and under current conditions, it’s as prevalent as ever. If you’re caring for family, trying to work and feeling like you’ve got to do things around your home you may feel like you’re being pulled in every direction and not able to focus on one thing at a time. Moving from task to task with no real rest can leave your brain fatigued. There has been a bit of an online backlash recently on the notion of productivity during this crisis, it’s not exactly likely that we should all have learned another language or written a novel by now. Well-intended as any such motivators may be, please ignore them.
Do something new or don’t do anything, it’s entirely up to you.
Let’s all promise we won’t ask our colleagues if they learned a new skill during lockdown when we get back?
Here are some other articles and resources for avoiding burnout during the crisis:
- BBC Worklife How to Avoid Burnout amid a Pandemic
- The Free Mindfulness Project lists a variety of free resources available online.
- Staying at Home tips from the NHS – Every Mind Matters
Easy meal suggestions
Eat simply sometimes, you’re possibly preparing a lot more meals than before (not to mention the snacks!) so take it easy some days, plan to have easy meals for those nights when things haven’t quite gone to plan and you normally would have been straight on the phone for a takeaway.
Try the free All Recipes Dinner Spinner App select the ingredient that you have and the meal-type and find lots of different options.
If you find you’re struggling to find balance or your circumstances change, please tell your managers or HR so that we can help. We might not be in the same boat but we’ll steer you right.