This month is Stress Awareness Month, occurring every year in April since 1992 highlighting both the causes and treatment for stress. Stress awareness within the work place is key for the overall well-being of staff and now more than ever it is vital that awareness is top of the priority list to ensure productivity. In this ‘new normal’ that we find ourselves in with the outbreak of COVID-19 it is important to recognise the mental health implications this has on us all.
Here at Concirrus we have been working from home (WFH) for the last month which many of us are not used to. This comes with new challenges, especially as each of us have different circumstances/priorities at home with family, etc. It’s important to have a healthy work life balance with the transition from busy office life to juggling the WFH life.
So how are we doing? We talk to some of the team as they share some of their tips on how they find balance, giving an insight into the challenges as well as some of the perks of WFH!
Thomas Solman - Senior Product Designer
"Whilst WFH, if I feel a task is getting the better of me, I take a step back and do something else. This could include something small like making a cup of tea, playing a couple of games of rocket league or taking a break from the computer and sketching out the problem. The important thing is to take some distance from the problem and then come back with a fresh perspective. I’ve found this works for me!”
Malgorzata Jermakowiz - Executive Assistant
“During this time knowing I can pick up the phone and talk to one of my colleagues or chat via zoom has helped me stay connected and positive. I also go for a run most mornings; this helps me stay motivated otherwise I would probably stay in my pyjamas all day! It’s good to see people smiling and nodding at each other whilst I am on my runs. There is a sense that ‘we’re all in this together’. It has also been nice to spend more time with my family during lock down although challenging not having a garden. Ah, and my daughter’s home schooling, you have to take that one day at a time! It’s important to let yourself have your down days as it’s normal in this situation. I remind myself daily ‘We’re all healthy and home together’.”
Craig Hollingworth - Business Development Officer
‘Your mind is working at its best when you're being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.’– Banksy.
“This is a quote that I have kept coming back to throughout this whole experience. For me reading this, the situation with Covid-19 brings a huge amount of opportunity. I have been able to exercise more when normally I would have been commuting. I’ve seen my children more than usual as they would have been at school. I’ve spent more time connecting with our team here at Concirrus when I would normally be distracted with other work. I have spent more time, and connected deeper, with customers as we’re all in this situation together. When you feel stressed it is important to remember that you’re not alone and that most people will be feeling the same as you. There are undoubtedly some very negative aspects and times when I feel worried or stressed but in that I do believe there are also many positives to the situation we’re all in which may take longer to play out or be realised.”
Sethu Manohita Marisetti - ETL & Hadoop Architect
“For me, WFH has been a juggle between kids and work! To better manage my day so I’m less stressed I find that going to bed early and waking up early really helps my schedule. It allows me allocate time for both family and work. Sometimes you find yourself working more at home than you would usually do in a 9-5 work environment. Planning a strict schedule has helped me manage a healthy work life balance. I also find when you start to feel stressed, pause everything and take a quiet walk (or anything that you enjoy) to ease your mind and then get back to where you left off."
Chris Gill – Senior Account Executive
“Mental health is all about your state of balance. Once balanced you can overcome anything! As a Royal Marine I used the mantra ‘It’s only in sorrow the bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.’ My advice is what I practice - The 3x P’s. Everyday ensure you apply the following to your daily routine:1. Positive Exercise
2. Positive Interaction
3. Positive Thinking
This is a discipline that can be hard to maintain, but if you do it, you’ll protect your state of mind. With everything that’s going on in the world right now this has been vital for me.”
Sammy Emojevbe - Business Analyst
“During this time, it is easy to feel stressed but for me personally I am a Christian and a man of faith, I read the bible and do my morning devotion every day. I have found that this has helped. This extra time being at home with my family has afforded me even more time to search for scriptures and meditate more on the word of God concerning and dealing with the uncertain times we are all in at the moment.”
Anita Sándor – Product Owner - Cargo
“WFH has brought many new challenges for me. The most prominent one has been building a new routine. I think it is very important for us all to have our own small rituals which signal the start and end of the workday, e.g. dressing up and popping some light make up on so you feel like you’re wearing work attire as opposed to having loungewear on all day long. On the positive side I am super happy not having to deal with the daily commute, this saves me from a lot of stress!”
Dermott O'Flynn - Client Delivery Manager
"Starting a new job and being asked to work from home after only four days in the office was a complete unknown to me. In the first week I was both trying to understand my new role and figure out how to best WFH. What I quickly learnt was Concirrus is a very supportive company. WFH you need a structure. I recommend having a dedicated space/table/place for work time, for me it's a fold-out table in the hall - this helps separate personal time from work time. During social distancing, social engagement is still important - turn on that camera! It has helped me get to know my new colleagues, and hopefully meant I am not known as the annoying Irish man at the end of the phone!"
Jorrit Peters - Senior Data Scientist
“I make sure to write down a list of what I have achieved each day in order to avoid only looking at the ‘to do’ lists. Personally, something I have found that really relaxing is growing plants/vegetables! I have started growing tomatoes, courgettes, peas, cucumber, artichokes and much more!”
Joanna Henson – Senior Account Executive
“I have found that regular breaks, exercise, and meditating every day help create balance. I use the App Head Space before going to sleep. It is also important to set yourself achievable goals each week. If you set unrealistic goals it can lead to more pressure and impact your motivation. I miss the office environment but being able to zoom with colleagues has been helpful!”
Andrew Collins – Web Development Engineer
"When WFH ensure you take tea, coffee and lunch breaks. It can be easy to just work through these; however, it is important to give yourself time away from work. I would say finishing your workday at a normal time as if you were working at the office is vital as you need to establish separation between work and home time.”
Hannah freeman – Marketing Assistant
“With everything that’s going on I am the type of person to worry about everything and anything! I also love being around people and having that social aspect of the job so WFH can be a struggle. I have found exercising makes me feel motivated and less stressed. Drinking lots of water (and not so much wine!) is also something that helps me. I have also noticed I’ve been using my phone more than I usually would so taking the time to just ‘be’ and meditate without my phone when I’m feeling stressed is important. I would say this situation has taught me not to sweat the small stuff and if you don’t get something ticked off the to do list don’t beat yourself up.”
There are several organisations that can help if you’re struggling at the moment:
Hi, I’m Hannah, part of the Marketing Team at Concirrus and all-round supporter of company culture. I’m passionate about encouraging wellbeing and mental health initiatives at Concirrus. If you have any tips or ideas around stress and wellbeing at work while WFH, I’d love to hear from you, feel free to get in touch with me on LinkedIn!