It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic brought remote working to the fore, with businesses quickly having to adapt to different ways of working.
Whilst some organisations are now bringing workers back to the office, many have introduced a hybrid-working policy, or are continuing to let staff work completely remotely.
This shift in attitude towards how, when and where employees work has left its mark on the tech talent pool. Recent research from Hackajob revealed that out of 2000 UK-based tech job-seekers, 67% of candidates are now looking for fully remote work.
Of course, it’s easy to see why a fully remote role would be so appealing: a better work-life balance, no commuting costs and increased productivity are just some of the many positives of remote working.
However, what isn’t talked about as much is the negative impact that remote working can have on an employee’s mental health and wellbeing. Being away from a traditional office set-up can result in staff feeling isolated and less able to collaborate, whilst others may feel that their professional development is being hampered.
Research from the Royal Society for Public Health showed that home working can seriously take a toll on our mental health, with 67% of respondents saying they felt less connected with their colleagues, and 56% finding it more difficult to switch off from work.
Regardless of how keen you are to continue remote working, it’s vital that you recognise if your mental health is taking a dip – and act on it. That’s why we’re sharing 5 essential tips to help you stay happy and healthy in your role.
When you’re working from home with a demanding workload, it’s easy to get into the habit of only grabbing 10 minutes for lunch – or worse still, not taking a break at all.
It’s vital that you allow yourself your full break time to pause and re-set your working day. Working long hours without a break can quickly lead to increased stress levels and, eventually, burn-out.
If you can, try and get outside during your break to give yourself time away from your screen to clear your head. It’s amazing how much more alert and productive you’ll feel after some fresh air.
Whether you’ve got a proper home office, or have just been working from your sofa or kitchen table, it’s easy to lose your creative spark if you’re stuck working in the same location, day in, day out.
Now that the world has opened up, try working from a different location a couple of times per week – this could be from a coffee shop, a library or even a co-working space (which would also give you the opportunity to meet other like-minded techies and help you to grow your professional network).
Following on from the point above, the more time you spend working at home, the more difficult it can be to separate your work and home life – particularly if you’re working in your living room or bedroom, which should be spaces in which you can relax and unwind.
Regardless of how busy your workload is, it’s impossible to be ‘on-call’ around the clock. Whilst some working may occasionally be needed outside of your contracted hours, it’s important to recognise that you need to maintain a good work-life balance.
Try turning your work phone off after 7pm, or at least avoid checking emails after that time. You could also switch off your laptop and devices at the end of the day and store them in drawer until the morning – fostering an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality.
Above all, be kind to yourself and recognise that you can only do so much in any given day.
If remote working is causing you to feel isolated, be sure that you’re taking steps to stay connected with your colleagues. Whether it’s a quick video call at lunch to catch up on non-work-related matters, after-work drinks with team members who live locally to you, or a group chat on WhatsApp, it’s important to continue having those informal ‘water cooler’ chats.
The more effort that’s made to build and maintain personal relationships, the more effective your working relationships will be – and the better your mental health will be as a result.
If you’re not already having regular 121s with your boss, or if you feel like you aren’t getting enough feedback, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for regular video calls to be put in place. If you’re not feeling valued or appreciated in your role, it won’t be long before your motivation, passion and wellbeing will falter.
Make sure you’re also having conversations about progression, training and development, so you know what you need to work towards to move forward in your career. Having a clear goal will help you to stay focused, whilst working towards it will give you a huge sense of accomplishment.
19th October 2021