Combating the long-term impact of working from home

Working from home … the new normal?

Commuting, social distancing, face-to-face contact, wearing something other than pyjama bottoms, leaving the Lockdown puppy ­– the concerns people have about returning to work post-Covid are endless.

Some of these issues are easily dealt with – clothes with elasticated waistbands have replaced formal business attire and dog walking is so popular a career change that the canine population can easily get their 10,000 steps a day. But other anxieties are much more serious and employees will need your help and reassurances.

Although it’s been well over a year since the Covid-19 pandemic impacted our lives, affecting everything from childcare (the words ‘home schooling’ have the power to strike fear in many parents) to relationships and our working lives, coping with such unprecedented conditions can create stress that accumulates and increases over time. Consequently, some long-term effects of this stress may only be starting to show now.

Lack of motivation

The ‘when is this going to be over?’ feeling that comes with a pandemic dragging on with no definite end in sight can result in employees struggling to find any motivation for anything, including work. Many employers have had to pause pay increases and bonuses. Without these perks, it can be hard to incentivise staff.

Employees have also missed out on the benefits of social contact with other staff members. When working from home, you can’t have a spontaneous brain storming session over Zoom or a brief chat by the water cooler, which gives you a few minutes respite reenergising you for the task ahead.

All of these factors, when taking place over a long period of time, can result in staff becoming bored and disengaged.

Feeling overwhelmed

Taking advantage of the furlough offer and reducing the workforce has enabled many companies to survive when they wouldn’t have done otherwise. But this has often put pressure on the staff who have continued to work, as they have had to do other people’s workloads as well as their own.

In addition to having more work to do, they’ve often had to do this while also parenting, looking after family members, sharing devices, working in an unsuitable environment and sorting out their own technical issues. It’s no wonder that many employees have been left feeling as though they have too much to deal with.

Feeling underwhelmed

It hasn’t been easy for the employees that have been furloughed either. While the rose-tinted image is of people baking fresh sourdough loaves every day to eat after completing their Joe Wicks workouts and before they Marie Kondo their house, in reality, many have felt so anxious about their future job security, they’ve lost their sense of purpose and the self-assurance that comes with that.

Home comforts

Although it took employees time to adjust to working from home, now that they’ve adapted to new ways of working, they may be hesitant about returning to the office.

Why waste time commuting when that time could be better spent working? Especially when that commute may be in close contact with people. Maintaining a 2m distance is impossible on a platform, let alone on a busy train.

Also, there may well be uncertainty and anxiety about what the post-pandemic office will look like. Will sufficient safety measures be in place to keep them safe? And if they are, what kind of sterile, working environment will that result in?

How we can help

A hybrid approach to working enables employees to enjoy the best elements of working from home and in the office, this is the approach we have adopted at Cognition24 and will continue to operate once “Freedom Day” finally arrives.

Cognition24 can help transform the working lives of your people, implementing and optimising technology that will allow them to work more flexibly. Our holistic approach always focused the people, process and the technology.

Contact us today and find out how our solutions can help you take the lead in fostering mental wellbeing in the workplace.

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