Now more than ever, people are experiencing stress in the workplace – not solely because of work-related items, but because of the added stress of a pandemic and the associated changes to our lives. Essential workers continue to work and worry if they’re going to carry any illness home to their family members. Parents who are now working from home are trying to juggle being an employee, a teacher and a parent all at the same time. Thousands of people have been furloughed, outright terminated, or had their salaries decreased. Changes like these can have profound effects on your mental health, your physical and your ability to provide for your family.
While we cannot control all these circumstances, there are things we can do in our home and work life to improve our quality of life:
- Whether you’re at home or at work, it’s important to communicate to those in your circle – not only about what you’re working on, but what you need from them in order to be successful. If you’re at work, this can be asking a colleague to answer the phones for a half hour so that you can focus on a project or asking a colleague to drop an item off to another department on their way to lunch. If you’re at home, this can be talking with your partner or your kids about what the day will look like. This may be a bit difficult if your kids are younger, but communicating about a busy or stressful day so that everyone is on the same page will help. Which leads me to my next item…
- There is a reason we congregate together – it’s because while we may like to think we can do things perfectly on our own, more often than not, it takes a village. Sharing with your co-workers the projects you’re working on or sharing the tasks for the week with your family, will allow others to give support and help out as much as they can to make sure items are completed.
- Everyone has been affected in some way over the past year, some small and some monumental, so it’s important to remember to have empathy for those you encounter. With the lines blurred between work and home, understand that while you may have been able to deal with these changes successfully, others may be barely holding it together. Having understanding and compassion for those around you will help to strengthen relationships, build teamwork and improve your workplace happiness.
- Take a break
- Even when you feel swamped, take a break. Let me repeat this. Even when you feel swamped, take a break. It doesn’t have to be for long, it can be a lap around your house or 5 minutes away from the computer screen – but it’s important to have this time for your mind. Take a deep breath, gain some clarity, fuel your body and come back to work feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle your project.
At the end of the day, there is no one-way-fits-all approach, but what’s most important is to identify what works for you and have a plan to try and make that happen.