Back to the office! How can we look after our wellbeing post-lockdown?
The past seven weeks of lockdown have been challenging for all of us, especially those who have been juggling the demands of home schooling and childcare with working from home.
Like many, the Black Vanilla team has returned to the office this week and Nichole thought it was timely to reflect on some of the ways we have looked after our wellbeing during lockdown, and how we can keep up these good habits to maintain our work–life balance.
“Over the lockdown, I was luckier than some parents, as my two boys are a little older and they adjusted well to online learning. However, running a business from home while juggling family life is a tricky balancing act. In fact, running a business while juggling family life is tricky, full stop!
“I have learnt to live and work by a set of rules that have helped me to look after both my own needs and those of the team, whether we are working from home or in the office.”
Make regular health checks.
“During lockdown, I was conscious that everyone in the team has different demands, so we tried to consider their individual needs. Some of us had to operate to children’s timetables, while others worked from their bedrooms, which isn’t the best working environment.
“Checking in each day just to make sure everyone is ‘okay’ has been even more important during this lockdown, and we will continue to do so now we are back in the office. The pandemic will continue to affect everyone differently for a long time to come, so health and wellbeing check-ins are more important than ever.”
Take advantage of face-to-face.
“Technology can be fantastic for comms professionals, but when you take away the option of face-to-face desk catchups or ‘watercooler chats’, you run the risk of communication overload, which isn’t helpful. Emails, video calls, WhatsApp chats and phone calls can all be a bit overwhelming.
“This last lockdown has taught us that life right now is volatile and can change at any moment. As we are lucky enough to return to normal life in the Bailiwick, let’s take advantage of those face-to-face meetings, catch-ups and coffees as much as we can!”
Find the balance.
“There are both pros and cons to working from home. During the lockdown, having a desk chair and desktop computer set up at home allowed me to create a work environment that’s helped to keep me focused on my ever-growing ‘to-do’ list. I encouraged the team to create their own dedicated workspaces to improve their focus and general wellbeing.
“Despite its struggles, working from home allowed more flexibility when it came to exercising and staying active during the working day, something that I find incredibly important. To combat this, we are introducing changes to office life that will help the team to find that balance. These could include stand-up desks, making the most of Cambridge Park which is nearby, local yoga classes and setting a timer to remind the team to get up every hour and do a couple of minutes of exercise!”
Learn to switch off.
“It was too easy to blur the boundaries between work and home during lockdown, particularly for me as a business owner when work doesn’t always fit into the 9 to 5 window. Learning to switch off has been so important, both physically and mentally. I have found it helpful to pack files away and switch off my computer at the end of the day so I can recharge my batteries during my downtime.
“Being back in the office, I am learning to separate that home and work-life once again. I am making sure that when the team and I leave the office for the day, we really do switch off.
“Resilience is a word that has really come to the fore over the last 12 months, and we’ve all learnt its real meaning. Working in a pandemic has often meant focusing on the immediate rather than planning ahead, which is our preferred strategy. I’m proud of how our agility has meant we’ve been able to provide a ‘business as usual’ service to our clients while looking after our own needs and those of our colleagues.“
You can read Nichole’s original article in the Guernsey Press here.