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As we enter month six of COVID-19 and with many employees and companies still working remotely, the strain of isolation is a major threat to productivity and creativity. Employees begin to lose touch with their coworkers and the motivation to get through the day begins to dwindle.
While many of us may have fallen victim to cabin fever, it can have lasting repercussions if it’s not taken care of and can negatively impact the way we work.
According to Small Business Trends, 66% of employees are still working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and out of those employees at home, 21% of them say they feel lonely throughout the work day. Both the National Center of Health Statistics and Census Bureau report a spike in anxiety and depression since March.
If you fall into this category, there’s no need to worry. There are so many resources available and creative ideas to get you out of the rut and feeling more positive and confident in your work.
Communication is key
There are many studies that say that human beings are a social species and after months of isolation, they have proven to be true. People are meant to talk to each other and just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that old fashioned face-to-face conversations should be forgotten. Ask your supervisor or your team about weekly video and conference calls to spark some social interaction to fulfill your need to talk to others.
Aside from work related calls, keep communicating with your team throughout the week and check up on them for some casual conversations to keep everyone connected. A majority of people impacted by depression says it stems from the feeling of being disconnected from the world and missing normal in-person interactions that they would get from being in the office.
Outside of company business, keep in touch with friends and family. Plan a get-together, a picnic, and safely enjoy some company. Physical contact may be a little extreme for those who are worried about virus spread; however, small outdoor gatherings are one of the easiest ways to get out of the house and to enjoy some verbal conversation. If you are uncomfortable giving it a go, connect with friends and family over Zoom or other video chat services to make sure your getting your social interaction quota in.
Mix up the routine
If you feel like you’re in a rut and the days start to blend together, shake things up a bit. Find a new location to work like the porch, the backyard, or even the park if you’re able to. If working outside the house is not an option, find small activities to break up the day like a little housework, recreation, or even errands.
Another method employees should consider is keeping a weekly schedule consisting of designated times to get work done mixed with different activities in between. Spend an hour or two over the weekend and pinpoint what goals you want to accomplish for the coming week and plan small activities, chores, and errands that need to be taken care of as well. Utilize technology resources built into your smart phone like the calendar, timer, alarm, and reminder applications to set aside time to work and time for other activities.
An important takeaway from the remote working experience is to keep the body moving. According to healthline.com, taking some time for some physical activity has proven to be beneficial for those who feel like they’re “locked up” for most of the day. The mixture of physical activity and fresh air can improve people’s mood drastically rather than keeping their eyes hooked on their computer screens 24/7.
There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help when times get rough. Try talking with your healthcare provider and employer about what options fit into your plan. Many offices have conveniently moved their practices online for those who are still uncomfortable being around others as a result of the pandemic. Talking with a professional is one of the best ways to get advice, pinpoint and discuss what is causing your troubles, as well as find solutions to help you cope.
If professional counseling is not an option for you, healthline.com, as well as other websites have provided different coping and meditation methods that can help you manage your mental health and find some ways to enjoy some peace and relaxation throughout the week.
Don’t feel ashamed
Everyone experiences a bump in the road every once in a while. There is a lot going on in the world right now and everyone processes it differently. If you’re experiencing mental hardships while working from home, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your supervisor and see what options are available.
Employees deserve to feel comfortable while on the job, especially when the return to normal working environments are very unpredictable for the time being. The important thing to remember is that this is all temporary and that there are plenty of people and resources to help you get through it.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, don’t hesitate to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website to learn more and find more information about the resources available.
September 14, 2020