As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, self-isolation and community quarantine are expected to become more common in the global community. As the pandemic intensifies, we’re seeing mass isolation in both urban and rural areas, and the Philippines is no exception. Some countries have already declared total population lockdowns just to cope with the pandemic. Employees are made to work from home and are duly supported by their employers with necessary tools such as home office furniture and equipment to be productive.
For thousands of employees forced to work from home, the isolation also serves the purpose of social distancing to avoid large public gatherings, especially at work. But this also means being confined at home, except for essential trips for food, essentials, and even home office furniture. And whether cooped up with family or alone at home, there will always be emotional impacts, including one effect called “cabin fever” involving the feeling of restlessness, irritability, and boredom.
Be emotionally accustomed to remote work
Employees doing remote work need to emotionally grasp the concept of remote work on day one, or face the other option, which is to go batty. Develop the same rituals and discipline daily when you were going to work. Set the alarm at the same time, take a shower, prepare breakfast, and get dressed a little. Don’t go to work in your jammies. And certainly don’t start work as soon as you wake up. Keep your body moving so that your mind doesn’t wander and cause anxiety later on. And don’t forget to exercise; it’s critical for your mental well-being.
Stay focused and committed to work, and try to make happy situations
Since employees have lost the unplanned watercooler or coffee break conversations with colleagues, try to make do with online conversations. If you have time, have a virtual chat with at least one colleague each day. If your team leader or manager gives you an unscheduled call, take advantage of the situation and start chatting freely. Most likely, they’re checking up on you, too, which is a good thing.
Don’t add to the anxiety of others, and yours
Perhaps when you have online meetings or chats with colleagues, it’s a good idea to talk about everything EXCEPT the ongoing pandemic, even if you do talk about your daily routines. If your company has set up workplace contingency plans for emotional support, follow these to the letter and use them as much as possible. Avoid sharing inaccurate or unrealistic (conspiracy theories) information, no matter from whom it came from, to steer clear of anxieties and fearmongering.
Remember that working remotely means that we are still lucky to have work, and the company can still afford to stay open, if only remotely. But above all, instead of allowing the pandemic to bring out the fear and worse in us, let us try to build a sense of solidarity across our colleagues and communities.
Another thing that affects one’s emotional well-being and productivity while working from home during such trying times is having a poor working space. As much as possible, keep your working conditions comfortable and conducive by creating a separate and quiet space for your home office, getting ample lighting, and using the proper chair and desk for your workstation. You can find a wide selection of home office furniture at CWC International Corp. Check out these Home Office Inspirations.