For many of us, the initial ‘we’re all in this together’ enthusiasm of working from home has long since faded, and the recent reversed guidance is likely to have a damaging effect on both motivation & wellbeing. With this in mind, our Business Psychologists at Psychological Consultancy Ltd., have compiled the following remote working advice to support those that may be struggling.
From an employee perspective:
- It’s currently more important than ever to foster and appreciate our relationships. Throughout history, humans have always relied on their capacity to survive through a remarkable level of cooperation and maximising the benefits that a community offers. It doesn’t just apply to recognising the value of relationships and supporting others as needed but also includes the ability to gracefully accept support when it’s offered. Use your Interpersonal skills (Interpersonal Relationships, Empathy and Social Responsibility) to develop and maintain your emotionally supportive alliances that act as a cushion in these unprecedented times – a supportive buffer if you will. Continue (or maybe start?) to invest time and energy in strengthening your connection with others. That includes helping out your fellow peers instead of waiting for them to support you – ask around how you can help in your immediate environment, pick up the phone or organise an online meeting to check up on people around you.
- Organise a weekly ‘social’ with your direct team. Don’t wait for your boss to organise it – as your boss may have a personality type that doesn’t require as much social interaction as you.
- Try to shift your focus from your own immediate worries to the bigger picture of your organisation. We know this is much easier said than done, but ultimately anything you can do to help your organisation survive will help you too.
- At the end of your working day, whatever that looks like for you, take a couple of minutes to think of three things that went well that day. Even if it’s the littlest thing you can remember. Then take a couple of minutes before bed to think of three things you’re grateful for, maybe in life generally, or it may be related specifically to your day. You can take this a step further by sharing these thoughts with a colleague or a person outside of work. Ask them to reciprocate with their three highlights.
- Following on from this, optimism is one of the most crucial skills you can have, as more optimistic individuals show higher level of resilience in the face of setbacks and don’t allow themselves to resign into disappointment when things don’t go as planned. It involves feelings of hopefulness and resilience in the face of challenges. Hope provides us with something to look forward to in the future – however small or large that “something” might be. Knowing that things definitely can and will be better in the future is a powerful motivator to fight through chaos and complexity.
- Although optimism is an important element, make sure it’s appropriately tied to reality testing – our ability to read and process the surroundings accurately. The amount of information on the news, internet and social media about COVID-19 is overwhelming, persistent and sometimes contradictory. Make sure you check the reliability of your source, do your research and gather relevant information instead of taking any piece of information immediately at face value. It will also be useful to take in information with context in mind – the data cited may be useless to think about when we aren’t taking into account the total population size or total expenditure of the nation, for example. Try to elicit views from others in order to get a balanced perspective – in a nutshell, be a little bit sceptical!
- The new lifestyle we have had to adopt in such a short time has forced us to throw some of our routines and common practices out the window. Flexibility allows us to roll with the punches, pivot quickly or adapt gracefully when a new direction is needed in order to succeed. Individuals who don’t use their flexibility skills to their advantage find it difficult to change their personal strategies that have proven successful in the past and can become overly attached to familiar ways of thinking and behaving. The current situation offers us the opportunity to realise that there are multiple different, yet valid ways to reach the exact same goal – so be open and tolerant to different ideas, ways and practices.
From an employer’s perspective:
Now might be the time to do an employee engagement survey. Find out how best to motivate your team, listen to their concerns and act on this information. You can’t presume to know what your employee’s worries might be. For some, it may be job security, for others, it might be feelings of isolation.
Last but by no means least, remember that learning and development sparks innovation. Ideas. The more you know, the more you actively seek to learn further, the easier it is for your brain to connect concepts together and to relate the knowledge learnt to your everyday workplace needs, creating solutions. These innovative solutions are in short supply (or high demand?) during this reactive time where ideas are what needs need to stay relevant and afloat. If you can, continue to invest in the training of your workforce in order to keep this innovation high.
Find out more about the consultancy services offered by Psychological Consultancy Ltd. by visiting the Consultancy menu on the website. If you’d like to read how personality can support remote working, click here.