A blog from Anna Maasland, Bailey & French Consultant
In the past few days (and weeks) I have seen many working from home articles discussing how to make it meaningful and keep human connections. We are all going through unprecedented times and having to be innovative and work in ways that are alien to us.
The negative news can be quite draining at times but my heart has been warmed by all the different ways people are coming together to support each other during this time. And yet, I can imagine, and I have experienced it myself, that the uncertainty and stress can have quite an impact on our mental health.
This whole situation has made me think about resilience. How can we be resilient in time of uncertainty? A lot of questions that are going through my head and I’m sure others are: Will my family be safe? Will I still have a job when this is over? How long do I have to socially isolate myself? All realistic questions that can undoubtedly impact how we are feeling at the moment. So, this brings me back to my question, how can we support ourselves, our teams and each other to be resilient and come out of this stronger?
At Bailey & French, when we talk about positive wellbeing, we talk about taking a proactive approach to build resilience. This means focusing and creating more opportunities to experience positive emotions, being engaged in your work, maintaining positive relationships and connections, connecting what I am doing to my purpose and acknowledging what I accomplish every day. When we do this, we help ourselves and others to better face challenges positively and see the opportunities to grow.
But how can you do this? Here are some of our tips for building our personal resilience and maintaining high levels of wellbeing:
Gratitude journaling – take some time in the beginning of the day or towards the end of the day to reflect on 3 things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. Research has found that if we do this for 2 weeks, 6 months later you will still experience higher levels of wellbeing.
3 positive things – this is similar to gratitude journaling, but you can easily do it with yourself, your team and your family at home. Ask yourself, what are 3 things I am positive about right now (these can also be things you are looking forward to or that have recently happened). The reason this is so effective is because it reframes how we look at the world and rather than focusing on all the uncertainties, focus on the things that we are grateful for.
Humour– make sure to have moments of laughter with others. At Bailey & French we use Yammer to share news and send gifs to one enough – I have laughed out loud many times and have noticed how it helps me feel better.
Consciously playing to strengths: we are more easily able to get in a state of flow and ‘peak performance’ when we are playing to our strengths. To do this I sometimes choose one of my strengths and consciously play to it during whatever activity I am doing. For instance, one of my strengths is creativity so I am trying to use this time, working from home, to find a new creative things I can do every week. This week it is making three puzzles of 1,000 pieces.
Strengths journaling: at the end of the day, reflect on your highlight of the day. Which strengths were you using at the moment? This will help you reflect on your strengths and be able to then use them to get more in flow.
Feedback: especially when working from home, it is important we still get feedback on our work. You can easily do this by working collaboratively and sharing your work. This means sharing it with your colleagues even when it might not yet be perfect. I have definitely struggled with it but I have noticed I was much more absorbed in what I was doing when I received that immediate feedback from my colleagues.
Huddles: work using sprints and huddles. We have a morning huddle every morning and at the end of the day with our whole team where we share what we wanted to achieve and how successful we were at it. It enables me to keep feeling connected to my colleagues by knowing what they are working on and at the same time see how we can collaborate, even when working remotely.
Sprints: similarly, we work with different pods every day/week where we check-in 4 times during the day and share what we are working on for the next sprint. This is a great way to keep in contact with the rest of the team while also staying accountable and focused while working form home.
Connect on the phone and using group chats: I have heard this tip come up countless of times in the last few days and that is because it honestly is so important. We need to keep talking to each other, even about things outside of work. It is a wonderful to keep feeling that support from the rest of the team.
Nature: go outside and make sure you have a little walk in nature (keeping a safe distance from others) during your breaks. I am currently in the middle of the forest and I absolutely love walking in the forest in the break taking up some fresh air. There is nothing like nature to remind you that you are part of something bigger than yourself. It is also really important to take a break from staring at your computer for most of the day. If you can’t go outside, at least make sure to open your window and try to spot a bit of green.
Have your why visible: take a moment to reflect on why do you do the work that you do. How does your work give you meaning? Find a way to regularly remind yourself, especially when you loose focus or motivation, in what ways your job is meaningful for yourself and for others around you. For example, I always a sticky note on my computer that has my why on it – I want to light up others to thrive. This might not mean as much to others but it definitely reminds me throughout the day that what I am doing has a positive impact on others.
Know what drives your team: you can use the sprints and huddles to not only check-in with each other but also to talk about what people find meaningful. Check-in with each other and ask yourselves, ‘what am I going to do to be meaningful to others and to my organisation?’.
Quick wins: breaking up your day in sprints can help with feeling more accomplishment when you achieve what you set out to do for that sprint. When we have a big project or task to do, it can be quite demotivating. Instead when you make short goals for the next 2 hours, it’s easier to see how far you have already come and it can feel less daunting.
Self-praise/reflections: it is important to recognise our own achievements and spend time reflecting on what went well during the day, especially when working from home by yourself. In the office, it is much easier to give praise and feedback to each other when a call went well or somebody wrote a good document but when others can’t see what you’re doing it’s important to be honest with yourself and recognise and celebrate when you did something well. This might go against what you are used to but will definitely help you in feeling a higher sense of accomplishment and higher wellbeing.
SMART+ goals: make your goals for the day and week realistic. It’s so important to make goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based so that you know exactly when you have achieved it. I have started doing it myself and I feel I accomplish more throughout the week – this is great for me since I have an Achiever strength.
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If you have any other questions on how you can support yourself and your team to build their positive wellbeing and resilience, please get in contact with someone from our team. We are a group of business psychologists that really want to help you get through this as well as possible.