In the last two weeks I’ve been reminded of this blog post we published back in September 2017 about the Mind Of My Own team working remotely. We proudly say that our team are remote working experts, but that’s because we’ve had so much practice.
I’ve been reminded of this blog post because of the multiple conversations I’ve had this week with our customers. They’ve spoken a lot about their struggles with the change of working in an office every day to working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So I wanted to share with you some tricks that we’ve learnt over the years that we’re implementing right now to help the whole team feel a degree of normality.
Communication is key
We recently recorded this video with the team at Gloucestershire Children’s Services where we talked about how they’re adapting to the current situation and using our apps as part of their safeguarding planning (have a listen, it’s brilliant!). One of the bits that stood out for me was when Em, their Young Ambassador, said that we all need to stay in touch now more than ever.
I couldn’t agree with Em more. It can be all too easy to feel like you’re completely alone when working from home which is why we need to stay in touch. It’s so important for our mental health!
To overcome these feelings of loneliness, the Mind Of My Own team have set up a group phone call every morning at 9am. We don’t even use this time to talk about work. Instead we allow everyone some time to speak about things that are on their mind, what they’re worried about, how they’re coping at home, positive stories they’ve heard or new ideas they’re working on.
Communication with each other helps us to remember that even though we’re in isolation, we aren’t isolated
Stay interested in other projects
When you’re in an office it’s easy to stay in the know. In the time you’ve gone to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, you hear from two or three colleagues eager to tell you about their work projects or any news they may have.
When you’re remote working it’s important to get the same fix. You need to find time to speak to colleagues about their work whether that’s by having a quick phone call, via text message, or even email. If you become too single minded on your own job then you’re in danger of feeling disconnected from even your closest colleagues.
We all know the rules by now – try and only go out your front door once a day for exercise or if you need to go to the supermarket. The truth is, you may be surprised at how easy it can be to not go outside at all, especially if you wake up and immediately get stuck into your work.
Living in a large city, I don’t have a garden or any outside space I can take advantage of. So I’ve found the best way to start my day is with a fake commute (or a ‘conmute’ as I call it). My goal is to try and trick, or con, my body into waking up and starting the day in the most normal way possible.
Try it yourself – set an alarm for the time you would normally wake up to go into the office. Get up, get dressed, get out. Walk around a few streets or a nearby park for 30 minutes and when you get back home you’ll feel much more refreshed and ready to start the day.
Since most of us are stuck inside for the foreseeable future, why not use your skills to help your colleagues?
Something strange happened to me this week, something that had never happened before. I was having a call with a customer when she stopped halfway through our conversation and casually said ‘I have to go now, one of my colleagues is hosting a Skype Yoga session. I’ll call you back in an hour or so’. What a world we’re living in
The point is that remote working from home can easily become a ‘wake up, laptop on, work, eat, sleep, repeat’ cycle (add in ‘entertain children’ as necessary). Your mental health needs some time to recover during the day. This is the time we would normally be commuting to work, or walking to buy lunch from a nearby café for example. Don’t be afraid to take a laptop free lunch, or even host your own Skype yoga session.