As we adjust to a new way of living and working for the next few months, it's more important than ever to take care of ourselves and each other. Spending more time at home and perhaps feeling at a loss without our usual routines, we wanted to provide some tips on how to deal with the challenges self-isolation and social lockdowns can bring.
Our Managing Director Wez Saunders spent the most part of four years working from home between 2010-2014, “I did so off the back of leaving a job in investment banking after twelve years, two years after my brother died of Leukaemia. I was battling with grief-related depression and bereavement-related mental health issues. Prior to leaving the bank, we had a fairly flexible work from home policy."
After hearing questions from his family, friends and employees Wez provided us with some guidance on working from home and how to take care of our mental wellbeing in these challenging times, providing the Defected staff with his advice for working from home and dealing with the challenges it may bring.
We wanted to share Wez's advice, along with tips from some of our artists, in the hope that it might bring some support to our wider community. Stay inside, look after yourselves, and keep healthy!
- Connect with people.
- Be physically active – move around your home/garden whilst on those conference calls.
- Learn new skills – they help boost self-confidence, raise self-esteem, help you to build a sense of purpose.
- ‘Give’ to others (help with advice, be there for them, help with work) – helps create positive feelings and a sense of reward/self-worth.
- Consider mindfulness.
- Avoid indulging (diet, drugs, alcohol) – do not allow the situation to take control of you.
- Ensure that you have the appropriate technology that you need to work from home. Your employer can help with this. Address the situation if this is not the case.
- Ensure that you are using a secure connection / secure Wifi / secure VPN. Check this with your employer/IT department.
- Create a suitable workspace.
- Ensure your workspace is Ergonomically Friendly (you have a suitable chair, happy with the monitor/screen you are using, same with the keyboard & mouse, go for a walk around your home).
- Avoid awkward workspaces.
- Ensure you are well placed to avoid distractions.
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- Implement communications programmes to enable you to stay at home – at Defected, we use Zoom, Slack, Facetime, Whatsapp, Email & Phone (there are many others).
- Set clear expectations and be realistic about what you can/should achieve.
- Daily communications with your line manager and team is key.
- Plan a daily routine whilst staying at home – both for when you and working and in your personal time – whilst following Government advice accordingly. Plan time for you.
- Get up each day, shower, get dressed, eat at your usual times – aim for a balanced diet as much as you can.
- Start your working day on time, as agreed with your Company.
- Plan and stick to regular / arranged / adhoc meetings.
- Use the phone and video call/conference options – do not rely on email/text messages.
- Drink enough water / make yourself juice / tea / coffee – it’s okay.
- Try not to work all night – try to finish ‘on time’ or as required (depending on your job; these times may require extraordinary commitments; they won’t last forever – be considerate but be mindful of your physical and mental capacities).
- Clearly distinguish your work hours and personal time (although be considerate towards the unprecedented challenges your employee may be facing).
- Use technology to spend time with family / friends / colleagues as you usually would whilst staying at home. Acknowledge that unless you live with those people, the communication will be online / on the phone.
Anticipating / Managing Stress:
- Split up big tasks – work with your colleagues.
- Challenge unhelpful thoughts.
- Talk to someone.
- Allow yourself some positivity.
- Plan ahead.
- Whilst I personally listen to music whilst you work (background music / whatever helps you), try to avoid working in close proximity to people you live with. Music may not work for everyone.
- Avoid having the TV on news channels all day if it is in the same room as your office space.
- Avoid fake news / social media as much as possible.
- If you are going to spend time reading about or watching the news channels to stay up to date on the situation, trust only credited media outlets. For me, I use only the BBC and listen to the Governments daily updates. If you are confused about the things they have discussed/addressed, ask your parents, your boss or follow up advice on the Government or World Health Organisation websites.
- Stay Connected. Communicate with others. If you are on your own, arrange time to talk to family / friends / colleagues outside of working hours on a personal level – according to the Britain Get Talking campaign, they say “It’s never been more important that we keep talking. Just hearing someone’s voice is proven to reduce anxiety and stress. If there’s someone you can’t be with, now is the time to pick up the phone and show them you care. Reach out to the ones you know who need it most.”
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Riva Starr: It’s a good opportunity to dedicate time to yourself and your loved ones. Things will get back to normality eventually and free time will most likely become a luxury again!
Sam Divine: I have my 18 year old stepson in quarantine with us so it's a time more than ever to enforce structure and routine. We have a whiteboard at home that will start this weekend for exercise , daily meals, chores, film time and music/computer time. I've also put together a 'Self Care' basket which is communal in the living room, there's Berocca, face masks, hand cream, hand sanitisers, eye masks, bath salts, candles amongst other things which is forcing us to have 'me time'.
Austin Ato: Sleep and exercise, since my gym closed I’m feeling all slouchy so been doing stretches and workouts are home. Calling my mum and dad, my friends, just keeping up with friends. That’s the human side. I think you can write music almost anywhere but you have to feel human everywhere.
HiFi Sean: All my life making music has been my go-to in my own personal dark times. Like many last few weeks I have wallowed in a window of shock and disbelief of what is happening. But a few days ago I decided to take control and reach out to producer / songwriter friends and start making music together and get lost in that process. Last few days some wonderful stuff has been born out this collective and the energy feels hopeful , enlightening and forward thinking. We need each other right now for our mental health , do not be alone in this as we are all there for each other.
Dave Giles II (Dave + Sam): It’s been fairly tough with the kids in tow all day, but as someone dealing with ADHD, I've realized how important it is to switch up my activities or location every 90 minutes to stay productive. Thankfully the weather in LA allows us to catch vibes outside. Also daily workouts have been the key to keeping us all sane. I used to do my writing at night, but I've started going to bed early and getting up before sunrise to really lock in and block out all the inner and outer noise.
Soundtrack your working from home with the Defected Staff Picks playlist: