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Becki Coombe on... Working at Home Wellbeing.

So if we are working at home, we are comfortable, happy and productive right?

I would imagine there are LOTS of newer home workers in-particular that are immediately screaming out… NO!!!

When I refer to comfort, I am writing this blog article sitting with my feet up on a reclined chair, with a small(!) pile of choccies next to me and a lovely through-draft from a sunny day amidst a peaceful environment.

I know that I am very lucky.

There are many homeworkers that would prefer to be working in their employer environment and many that are working in cramped conditions – possibly even from their bed or the same room they try to eat and relax in. Some may not have views or windows they can open.

There are many that would not meet minimum DSE (Display Screen Equipment) and/or Remote Worker Risk Assessments yet, they are being forced to work in these conditions due to Government and/or Employer restrictions.

So what kind of impact could or does that have on Employee/newer homeworkers?

Well at this precise moment in time this is having an effect on my waistline – as I am down to my last remaining chocs and wondering what I can start on next! But for some, this could be no joke! For some, the routine timings of getting ready for work, travelling and breaking up the day in the office before returning home may have been a blessing to maintain a more nutritionally balanced diet and lifestyle.

But the impact can be much further reaching. Many workers may have enjoyed affording the opportunity to focus on tasks with less interruptions in the first weeks (perhaps not those who were also home-schooling and sharing their workspace with others?) however over time, it is highly likely that this initial motivator has decreased and been replaced in part with experiences of loneliness and possibly boredom – both that can be detrimental to productivity. Ask any newly self-employed person what their biggest challenge (other than getting new clients!) was and I would like to bet that a huge proportion would say that ‘cabin fever’ and not having others around them was a huge (and often unexpected) challenge.

Scheduling meetings can be a great way to counteract this cabin-fever experience BUT(!) do online video meetings support wellbeing?

I would suggest that online video meetings can be more draining than face-to-face encounters. They could also bring about more stress as preparation need to be made in different formats and increased levels of anxiety could arise through being visible on a video (as you can often see yourself) over sometimes long periods of time. If a homeworker is subject to attending multiple online video meetings over a week, this could lead to resentment of meetings and feelings of dread for upcoming days.

Of course there may be lucky people like myself who have space and surroundings, time, equipment, resources and the ability to still meet and greet in person in-line with the current Government guidelines. For those people we should be pleased for them and I for one never forget my fortune and am truly grateful every day.

But for others, we should be mindful and ensure we take the time to check on their wellbeing and support them to maintain positivity and motivation as best we can. If your workplace has a Mental Health First Aider, they can support you in how to start or guide a conversation to check on someone’s wellbeing – or have the conversation themselves.

If you don’t have your own Mental Health First Aider such conversations can be as easy as asking: “Are you OK?” After a few moments or, if you are not convinced by their response then follow it up with the emphasised question: “Are you really OK?”. And… take it from there! Simply listening to someone (really listening – with both ears!) and showing that you are genuinely interested and care, can be a game changer for someone who is struggling.

Call 0800 98 87 321


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