A FAMILY-RUN organisation that provides individuals with help to boost their professional and personal wellbeing is offering advice to homeworking individuals to help keep them motivated and productive (October 2020).
Somerset-based A Centre of Light has created a series of free tips to help workers, as work from home continues, offices remain empty and businesses are unable to fund wellbeing programmes.
Peter Heath, co-founder of the organisation near Bridgwater, says: “The levels of stress employees are under at the moment is huge. The Government is currently recommending those who can work from home do so, and many have not actually returned to work since the last lockdown, and it’s hard to see how things will go back to the way they were.
“Latest figures from research conducted by Nuffield Health suggest a quarter of those homeworking have felt isolated and 80% said their mental health has suffered.
“There are some companies who are in a better position to help their employees manage their wellbeing through providing courses such as ours for their staff.
“However, unfortunately there are companies who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and their priority is staying afloat without having to make redundancies, therefore providing additional courses for their employees, will not be feasible with their budgets. It’s up to the employee to survive and build their resilience and we can assist individuals to do this.
“We’re able to help those who are working from home take responsibility for their own wellbeing by giving them the chance to learn how to de-stress and manage all areas of their lives positively and productively.”
The Government altered its guidance in September to advocate working from home where possible, after initially wanting to encourage people back into their offices at the end of August.
“This saw a rise in the proportion of staff members working exclusively from home, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It found 24% of employees have been working only from home since September 22, compared with 21% the previous week.
“Even after we’ve seen off COVID-19, many of our clients are dubious that they’ll return to a five-day, office-based week. A recent survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) found three-quarters of respondents anticipating more homeworking after the pandemic. More than half are planning to reduce physical office space use in the future too.
“However, we understand from our clients that there are lots of issues to consider with homeworking and organisations should not adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach with their home-based staff.
“Working from home isn’t easy for everyone and business owners must be alert to this. Managing teams remotely can be difficult and directors should support employees’ mental wellbeing too.
“For some employees being together in person is more productive and enjoyable. Staff used to a shared workspace may be missing opportunities for informal development, creative thinking and idea sharing.
“We know employees are experiencing a new wellbeing challenge at the moment as we now go into the winter months and the opportunities to go outside are reduced due to the weather and the clocks going back at the end of October, making evenings darker.
“Many say their emotional wellbeing has been negatively affected by COVID-19 and the changes to their working arrangements, such as working from home and concerns about job security.”
Peter and the team at A Centre of Light suggest homeworkers start building resilience into their lives by:
Tip 1 – explaining stress
Stress is the perceived ability to meet life’s demands. One implication here is that stress is about control, and how much leverage we feel we exert over our circumstances. Stress is a normal part of being alive. The problem is not stress, but a toxic relationship to stress. Stress is what motivates us, inspires change, and encourages learning.
Tip 2 – self-talk
Prone to having distressing thoughts, you can develop a method of catching them before they make you too unhappy. ‘Catch it, check it, change it’. Thinking can contain what we call ‘cognitive distortions’, or ways of thinking which make things seem worse than they really are.
Tip 3 – energy – blockages & barriers
The human body is composed of trillions of cells. They provide structure for the body, absorb nutrients from food, convert the same nutrients into energy, and carry out specialised functions. What we choose to think, feel, and do affects our energy and in turn energy affects what we think, feel, and do.
A Centre of Light promotes values that support and encourage specialised education, growth and development, including psychic advice on business matters, careers and relationships.
Peter adds: “We act as a sounding board for people and listen to their concerns, as well as helping them to move forward positively with our expert guidance. We can help if you are an employee who is worried about your role and the future.
“We offer a solution for those who are experiencing difficulties, through our De-stress Energy Programme, which is one of the key services we provide. Employees who are going through tough times at the moment, as a result of COVID-19 related issues, are invited to sign up to the programme to see how we can help. Watch our introduction video here for more details https://bit.ly/3odABmO.
“Although we now have more experience with lockdown, the winter will be a new landscape to navigate. Keeping motivated and productive will be a new set of challenges in itself.”
A Centre of Light believes that it is seeing a rapid change in workplace culture in the aftermath of the lockdown, in favour of a greater emphasis on mental health and emotional wellbeing. This is something employees are requesting, and employers are positively adopting, as a more caring work-life relationship develops.
“We can help people achieve resilience, our steps and guideposts can prove invaluable on your journey, giving you direction and purpose whether in your work or personal life, and this is why our company strapline is: Business with a Heart®.”