Work-From-Home During Coronavirus: Your Employees’ Self-Care Routines Are Important Too
- Namrata Harish
- Career Development, Expert Advice
- 28 Apr 2020
Employees Working From Home?
They Deserve Some Time for Self-Care
Corporate India has had to adjust to a variety of new challenges during the time of the coronavirus pandemic - the nationwide lockdown, having employees work from home as well as ensuring business continuity processes are in place.
There is no question that your employees’ safety and health is foremost at this time and the remote working option goes a long way in ensuring that.
However, this time of crisis brings with it new challenges for employees at a personal level.
How Coronavirus is Affecting Employees Individually
Not only is work taking on new dimensions and structure, but family life has also changed. With children at home from school and household help being absent, working parents are having to juggle more responsibilities than before. Added to that is the uncertain job market, rising expenses and worries about medical care.
All this amounts to growing anxiety and fear in the employees’ minds, which can have adverse effects on their productivity, health and safety.
How Managers Can Help Employees During This Time
Managers are great resources to tap if you want to know how team members are faring individually. They are better equipped to handle crises of mental health since they are in daily contact with their teams. They are also looked up to as role models and can often lead by example.
Best Practices for Managers Who Want To Keep the Peace
Here’s what managers can do to ensure their team members stay calm and healthy at this time:
- Use technology like video-conferencing to give your teams resources to check in with you
- Reduce the stigma around mental health by starting the conversation with your teams
- Show empathy and leadership in extenuating circumstances
- Engage with employees in social situations, especially while working remotely
- Encourage your team members to prioritise self-care for themselves, and lead by example
It’s not uncommon to find employees who are overworked and anxious, but it is rare to see a manager who cares and shows their teams how to care for themselves by doing it first.
It may be in the form of simple habits like short walks, guided meditation sessions, or more meaningful gestures like showing empathy during family emergencies — a manager can be a positive influence on their team’s productivity.
How Managers are Leading the Self-Care Movement by Example
JobsForHer featured 3 such role models — leaders of India Inc — who are proving that the new norm of working from home can be handled smoothly, efficiently and calmly.
Here’s how they’re leading from the front:
Dhruv Shenoy, Founder, 64Inspired Consulting and Advisor, JobsForHer
Here are Dhruv’s top tips for being healthy while working remotely:
- Always have a fixed start time for the day to ensure it becomes a habit during the lockdown. There should be a hard stop for the end time too
- Pick a space where you are most comfortable working. It’s something a lot of us do in the office and we should use it at home as well
- For a long time, I have had the habit of walking around for 5 minutes after an hour’s work. It gives the mind some space to relax and the next hour becomes more productive
- It is important for team members (who are now remote) to have the right priorities to chase
- Whether one is in a job or is running one’s own ship, we should give our best during the time we have committed to the job
Khalid Raza, Talent Acquisition Leader, North & East India and Bangladesh, EY
With the nationwide lockdown being extended, companies and their employees are getting accustomed to working from home long-term.
Here are some top tips from Khalid for managing employees who are working from home:
- Let them decide their schedule, as some of them have to manage kids and parents
- Laugh with them if you hear kids screaming since most people did not factor in a home office
- Don't force productivity in the garb of reduced work
- Inspire them towards learning. This is the time to promote alternate ways, like Coursera, Udemy, etc.
- Make your processes better, rather than just worry about dashboards. Numbers will change
- Don’t make them work crazy hours or on off days
Priyanka Sharma, Senior Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Hinduja Global Solutions
Self-care among working professionals rarely gets the spotlight when it comes to the work-from-home situation.
Priyanka has some tips for making sure health comes first:
- Rather than lounging on your sofa, bed or at the dining table, consider creating a comfortable workspace. It is a smart investment and enables isolation, brings about discipline and ensures that your posture is maintained
- To easily deliver your work responsibilities, communicate your day's schedule to your family members. Also, if you attend to personal work, inform your entire team in advance.
- Include water breaks in your schedule and eat at the right time. Remember that your body’s rhythm needs to be maintained while you work from home.
If you are managing your team remotely, do share with us how YOU are making this work-from-home time work.