Webinar Recap: Coping With Coronavirus: Mental Health, Remote Work Challenges, and Leading Through Uncertainty
The world is in the midst of an unprecedented situation right now as we face the coronavirus pandemic. While battling extreme emotional changes, most people are also experiencing a drastically different work environment.
In an effort to help our community navigate the complex impact of this global health crisis, our Founder, Managing Director, and remote work expert, Rajat Kapur, teamed up with psychologist and mental health expert, Dr. Andrea Delligatti, for a free webinar to share ways to cope with stress, adjust to remote work environments, and lead through the uncertainty of this troubling time. Given that &Marketing operates remotely 24/7/365, we know a lot about how to productively work from home, so we were thankful for an opportunity to pass on some practices that work well for us.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
During the webinar, Dr. Delligatti described some of the common effects that a crisis can have on our mental health, including anxiety, obsessive thinking, compulsive behavior, and sleep and appetite disturbances. If you are experiencing any or all of these effects, she recommended a few ways to combat them:
Be aware of the symptoms of stress. Remember, what you’re feeling is common under these circumstances.
Articulate your stress. Say how you’re feeling out loud. Use the people around you (physically or virtually) who are the most helpful to you during times of stress.
Take a break. Make time each day to consciously refocus your attention on something other than your work and the news. Take a walk, exercise, read, or meditate. Do whatever makes you feel most at ease. Give yourself “you” time.
Establish a new “normal.” Even though you’re not going into an office every day, you should still establish some sort of routine. The circumstances under which we’re living right now are not ideal – but it is our current reality – so it’s important to create structure and consistency. This will improve your focus and productivity.
Be thoughtful about your news intake. The media is inundating us with news about the crisis every hour of every day. To avoid this, take time away from your devices and televisions, and instead pick a few reputable sources to check a couple times during the day. Dr. Delligatti recommends the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state/county health departments.
Seek professional help if needed. If your stress becomes debilitating or you have thoughts of self-harm, contact a medical professional right away for support and guidance.
Staying Focused in Your Remote Work Environment
Raj, who has a decade of experience in leading remote teams, provided advice on how to best work from this new environment, and what leaders can do to lead their teams through these changes and help them stay motivated and connected.
Create a dedicated workspace. When working remotely, the lines can get easily blurred between your work life and your personal life. Having a dedicated work area – especially with a door and away from others in your household – will create a barrier.
Adjust your routine. Raj emphasized that this is not business as usual. It’s important to rethink how you interact with coworkers (we love virtual 1:1 meetings and team “happy hours!). This will require you to be more proactive about how you manage your schedule.
Avoid distractions. To maximize productivity, block out portions of your calendar to do work and turn off email, messenger, and phone notifications.
Use video. Rather than only communicating via phone, incorporate video to increase the quality of your interactions with coworkers (Zoom, UberConference, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc. are all great options!).
Offer flexibility. Everyone is going through this situation differently and juggling new work schedules and responsibilities (i.e. taking care of a child while working), so we need to be empathetic and enable flexibility. For example, if you can, let your teams know that the time at which they get their work done can be flexible to accommodate their needs.
To hear a more detailed discussion of these topics as well as a Q&A, we encourage you to listen to the full webinar here.
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