Remote working has quickly become the new normal for many of us. New technology makes this all possible. Whilst there can be benefits there are also a number of pitfalls. I, for one had a meltdown yesterday and simply did not see it coming. It's so important to ensure we don't burn out.
Navigating sensitive territory in a virtual team is an essential skill. If we are not careful issues can fester. Emails can be misinterpreted as being rude or too direct. With no visible body language it can be tricky to convey our true meaning. In a virtual environment there is a tendency to focus too much on the task rather than actual relationships.
Feelings of isolation, loneliness, overwhelm and being unable to 'switch off', in addition to a lack of social support and homeschooling multiple children are themes that I'm hearing on a daily basis. One significant issue raised was how virtual working is managed and expectations that arise from this on both ends. Clients have reported that since working from home, there has been a lack of communication on work progress which feeds into an increase in anxiety levels and feelings of not being "good enough" which plays havoc with confidence and self -esteem.
Strategies that can help are:
1. Focus on your childs' routine -
The reality is that some of us have families at home with us too. Sometimes we cannot combine home life with work life. It has to be separated. Organising predictable schedules make children feel secure which helps them to understand our expectations and allows us working blocks of time.
2. Location, Location, Location
Organise a dedicated space so that you can separate work from home. This means getting up each morning and getting ready for work. Setting these boundaries increases efficiency at work, but it also reduces stress in your personal life. Both of these mean more relaxation and less burnout. And for employers, it means a reduced turnover rate while building a reputation as a great place to work.
3. Buddy up
Alleviates feelings of isolation and loneliness, helping to build an immediate personal connection between employees. If you do work alone then consider reaching out to someone like myself. A “buddy” can also be your friend, spouse or family member. Buddies provide inspiration, knowledge, and support. Buddies also keep you honest and on track, providing a sense of accountability.
4. Have a plan
The time and structure of your day is being influenced by other people - especially if you have little people at home. Concentrated spurts are more realistic and again helps to balance work life with personal life.
5. Flexible thinking
Nothing is more important than our child's well-being. So we need to tend to them first – Yes in order to look after them we need to work and generate an income, but we can think outside the box and be prepared to continue working once they are settled in bed or before they get up. It's not ideal, but it does allow us to work for now.
6. Reset and refocus your mind - as many times as you need to. This is something I do often as I am a mum, a business owner, an educator, a wife, a friend, a sister and many more!
If your are feeling anxious there is a reason.
If you are feeling stressed there is a reason.
If you are feeling overwhelmed there is a reason.
The processing capacity of our conscious minds are limited. Our brains have two dominant modes of attention. One is where we are actively engaged in a task whilst the other is when our minds wander. Only one is active at a given time. So reset and refocus when you need to.