By Harriet Nabakooza Musoke, Head Human Capital dfcu Bank
Since the government declared a total lockdown as a measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, many people have been grappling with working from home as it comes with several challenges. Previously, you would wake up in the morning and look forward to going to your workplace, but now you find yourself having to work from your house. On top of worrying about how soon the confinement will end, you also have to put up with the struggle to be productive at your job, meeting family responsibilities and the safety of your close ones. The pressure that comes with trying to keep up with all this can be quite overwhelming.
For most people, working from home is unchartered territory. Despite the challenges accrued to working from home, you also have to realize that working from home is a great privilege that not so many get to enjoy given the current economic situation.
There is no doubt that there are so many distractions whilst at home; from interruptions from kids fighting for your attention, your game console right in front of you, your beckoning TV show or the temptation to just laze around the house and social media. All these can eat so much into your productivity and have a huge impact on your mental health if not monitored. You might not have everything figured out at all times but you must observe the things that take up your energy.
Here are a few tips to help you stay productive whilst maintaining your sanity.
Prioritize your mental health: The National Institute of Mental Health has a mantra, ‘No health without mental health’. Your productivity and disposition are all dependent on the state of your mind. Our mental health comprises of our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing. It greatly impacts how we feel, think and behave each day. It also contributes to our decision-making process and how we cope with stress. Positive mental stress will help you become more productive and help you cope with daily stresses.
You can protect your mental wellbeing by maintaining a consistent sleep routine. It can be quite tempting to stay up late into the night and staying in bed longer. We are often told about the dangers of little sleep, but on the other side of the coin, oversleeping can dampen your cognitive function. The recommended sleep time is 8-9hours a night.
You should also exercise at least for 1 hour every day; the merits are endless. Exercise will help regulate your stress levels, increase your productivity, regulate your sleep and better still your emotions.
Maintain Human connections: with everyone confined in their homes, there is little or no room for socialisation. Nonetheless, it’s critical to keep in touch with your close ones, colleagues and social networks. With Social distancing, people are spending more time online. You can take advantage of virtual forums to interact with others to bridge & lessen the feeling of loneliness. You’ve got to remember that we are social animals and partly explains the reason why we go to work to socialise with others. If you ignore that feeling during this pandemic, it can easily impact on your mental health and other areas.
Outline your Deliverables: You need to structure your day as you would at work on a normal day. Clearly outline your deliverables for the day and exercise self-restraint and discipline to accomplish your set out to-do-list. This will help create structure and routine making the quarantine period tolerable.
It is essential to setup an exclusive workspace where you can concentrate and feel comfortable. Avoid places where you usually relax. Also set boundaries around your work hours, for instance; you could decide to start work from 9am to 5pm with intermittent breaks in-between. At the set time, set the work aside and engage in other activities.
Disconnect: Avoid obsessing over the endless coverage of coronavirus. It’s important to stay in the know, but you have to be conscious of how much time you spend online and what you are consuming. It’s important to unplug from the internet once in a while and clear your mind.
We must wake up, dress up and show up!
This pandemic has shown how critical it is to embrace our humanity, be understanding and caring. We need to make sure that the “Human” in Human Resources is prioritized.