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Coronavirus and remote working: looking after your mental health


With more and more businesses rapidly turning to remote working due to coronavirus, there are going to be lots of people stranded on their own, working in a way that they’ve never tried before. Even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool remote worker, working from home can be isolating at times. So what are the best ways to protect your mental health?

Leapers supports the mental health of anyone who is working differently – remotely, part-time, flexibly, self-employed. We address the gaps in new ways of working that haven’t been figured out yet.

Working from home is accelerating rapidly due to Covid-19. But while I applaud the move to embrace remote working, businesses who send their people home without designing it properly may be in for a surprise – both organisations and individuals need to think about how to approach remote work, not just hope for the best.

Coronavirus and remote work: our guides to working well

We’ve put together two guides – one for people who are suddenly remote working without any choice, perhaps through self-isolation, and one for freelancers who are worried about what impact Covid-19 might have on them. Both focus on the emotional impact and they’re part of a larger guide on better managing isolation when you’re self-employed, which will be available later this year.

There are four key things I’d highlight to summarise these guides:

  • Don’t wait for it to happen, make a plan now: get your tech working, chat with your colleagues and/or clients about how you’ll work together remotely, do a dry run and see what kinks need sorting out.

  • Structure your days: make sure you’re planning in breaks like lunch and the 3pm cuppa, schedule in some socials like calling a friend or have some banter with a colleague, put some time in for exercise (even if you can’t leave home) and set yourself a time to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day.

  • Share how you’re feeling: if you’re feeling low, talk about it. Check on your colleagues and see how they’re doing, don’t accept ‘fine’ for an answer, and if you’re an employer, check on your people.

  • Plan ahead for next time: take this time to think about what protection you have in place for if you do get ill, or if you can’t work, and start to put cover in place to make sure your finances are secure.

Coronavirus is causing enough anxiety and stockpiling of loo rolls, so don’t get caught up in the panic, put calm plans in place, have conversations with your network about what you’ll do and remember to work well, regardless of where you’re working from. If we work together as a community, we can all support each other and encourage businesses to support #remoteagainstcoronavirus.

If you’re keen to access more support and resources like these, Leapers is a free community supporting the mental health of the self-employed. Visit the Leapers website.

Download the coronavirus remote working guides:

Working well from home under self-quarantine for coronavirus

8 things to consider if you’re freelance and worried about coronavirus