In Today’s Uncertain World One Thing Remains Clear: Whether Working From Home or Going Back to the Office – You Need to Keep Taking Care of Yourself
We were told that July was going to be the new January, with most people who are currently working from home, being able to return to their offices by then. Now, some companies are pushing that out to September or, more vaguely, ‘Autumn 2021’ and a number of corporate giants, including Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft are even considering letting a big part of their staff remain home-based on a permanent basis. With the vaccination roll out moving very slowly, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s no definite date for a mass return to the office as yet.
What is your personal situation like?
Maybe you fell in love with working from home and don’t want to think about going back to the old ‘normal’ … ever! Or, on the contrary, are one of the 40-75% (depending on who you talk to) of office staff who are keen to get back to their corporate desks?
You may be a frontline or essential worker, perhaps working in construction, IT or communications, like many of our partner companies - essential engineers, faced with a number of health risks on a daily basis and concerned about keeping yourself, your colleagues and families safe. Add in the prolonged uncertainty and the increasing list of health & safety protocols that protect you, but don’t necessarily make it any easier to do your job. It’s no wonder that mental wellbeing has become a ‘significant safety concern’, not just in the Irish construction industry, but across many other sectors too.
According to the Citizens Information Bureau’s review of the rules surrounding
‘Returning to Work after COVID-19’, it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their employees look after their mental health and well-being, especially during the current pandemic.
Returning to Work after Lockdown – Sanity Tips
The continuing uncertainty about when and how we will return to work is a valid reason for experiencing anxiety - a prolonged state of worrying. Many of us may be experiencing high anxiety for the first time in our lives. We may be anxious about when we can return to work or indeed be experiencing sleepless nights at the thought of actually returning to the office: the long commute, the endless meetings, not to mention the possible increased health risks.
In response, Mental Health Ireland has put together a brilliant Pocket Guide To Returning to the Workplace. The booklet summarises a wide array of workplace challenges and gives instant tips on how to effectively manage anxiety both in the workplace and at home.
Sheila O’Malley, a professional trainer at Irish Life Health, also has some practical tips for managing anxiety and cultivating healthy rituals around returning to work which will help us swim through the change, when it (finally?) comes.
Sneak Peek Into Your Future Workplace
Not being able to imagine what our new workplaces will actually look like may be adding to fears and anxiety. The visionary experts in ZDNet have taken a glimpse into the future of office space and some of what they foresee include:
Health and Safety will be the top priority
Cool new gadgets and technology will be popping up around offices
Some office space may be repurposed into child care facilities
Flexible workspace and hybrid working schedules (office and home) will be common
There will be coffees with colleagues again – just in a more orchestrated manner
And if all this still doesn’t compare to the cosiness of your home office, don’t despair, you may be saving on your commuting costs for quite a while still. CCS Insights predict that more than half of all office-based employees will still be working from home in 2022.
Finally, to get the official line, check out the Irish Government’s updated COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead document.
Take Care of Yourself, no Matter If or Where You Work
After a whole year, the pandemic has turned from being a ‘transitory’ situation to being ‘permanent’, at least for now. There has been time to adjust. A lot of awareness has been raised about the importance of well-being and mental health, many of you will have done some exploration, learning and work, in the area of self-care. Maybe you started meditating, eating more vegetables, re-evaluating the role of your relationships in your life, minding the hours of sleep you get or becoming more mindful. If not, don’t worry, it is not too late!
In case you are still looking for inspiration, we have gathered some tips, apps, suggestions, free classes and lectures for you to use and improve your well-being and mental health. Try those which resonate with you most and boost your resilience and feeling of happiness.
Can you actually measure your well-being? It turns out that this quick WHO-5 Well Being Index based test can tell you, right now, where you stand. This could be your first step to starting your more positive future. Enjoy the journey!
Mental and Emotional Wellness
Wellbeing lecture by Aware, 1 h
Free Resilience Course with Dr. Chris Johnstone, total 1 h
Meditation, Mindfulness and Manifesting session with Emily Fletcher, Ziva Meditation, video, only 16 minutes
Work from Home Productively during COVID, article, Forbes
Breakthroughs in mental wellness article by Global Wellness InstituteTM
Fitness, Health and Sleep Apps
For beginners: Sworkit
Quick workouts: 7 min Workout
For Apple Watch: Zones for Training
Yoga and Pilates: Glo
Monitoring Nutrition: Fooducate
Sleep apps: choose one of these reviewed by Glamour
Become happier, healthier, stronger: Wim Hof Method
Healthy Eating Tips to Feel Your Best
What to Eat for Optimal Mental Health, an article from Mindful
Optimize your Gut and Brain Bacteria, Dave Asprey, 7 min video
Snacking tips, 2 min, and other mini videos by Spectrum Health
Healthy eating hacks, 11.5 min + a printable guide
WHO quarantine special: Food, nutrition tips and shopping ideas
Nurture Positive Relationships
Building Positive Relationships with HSE, video 16 min
Communication techniques that can improve any relationship in your life explained in an interview with Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt, 1h
Family Wellbeing Booklet for the lockdown by Mental Health Ireland
Printable Brochure for The New Normal by The Institute of Wellbeing
Host In Ireland Founder & President
Links to additional free COVID 19 Support Resources