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  • In order to adapt to these highly unusual circumstances that much of the world is currently facing, many companies and law firms have implemented business continuity plans. As the weeks and months of isolation due to the Coronavirus pandemic continue to accumulate, it is not surprising that some people are struggling with high levels of stress and social separation.

    Allowing depression and anxiety to take control of our mental health is something that we cannot afford to happen. There are ways to cope and maintain our mental wellbeing. We have come up with a list of (hopefully) helpful tips from our own teleworking experience at Just Legal.

    1- Engage positively with colleagues and team members

    An individual’s mental wellbeing is deeply affected by their opportunities to engage positively with other people. Evidently, prioritizing social engagement and reaching out to others are key to avoiding miscommunication and maintaining relationships. Without being physically in the same room, the opportunities for non-work related conversations will decrease significantly, as well as the ability to continue to work effectively within the group.  Work hard to stay connected and make time to communicate with people one on one or in groups. For instance, setting up 15 minutes of your time every day before starting work for an ‘informal’ conversation is a good way to stay in touch. As a job seeker, take this opportunity to network online and stay connected even when there are no opportunities available at this time. 

    2- Maintain routines

    Setting psychological barriers between work and home is also a crucial part of spending ‘a normal day at the office’. The more routine that we can maintain in our lives the better. Try to stick to a consistent schedule throughout the day and schedule regular breaks, if possible. 

    3- Decide where at-home work will happen and have a clear end to your working day

    Boundary management is a challenge for most of us. If possible, dedicate a ‘Work Only’ space for yourself. Try to minimize distractions around this work zone to further separate both worlds. Furthermore, without having the daily commute and with the merging of our personal and professional lives, it became more difficult to STOP working. This can lead to overworking and puts us at a higher risk of reaching the point of burnout. To support this, you may find it helpful to set a consistent end-of-day time and switch off digital devices when you stop working at day’s end.

    And finally…

    Take time to relax and carry on doing things you truly enjoy! 

    Conclusion 

    Social isolation is one of the major risks to our mental wellbeing posed by the current work at home situation in many countries. Many people are experiencing deep uncertainties towards the future, on top of feelings of loneliness and isolation.

    When staying indoors for long periods of time, especially during this crisis, it is of the utmost importance to check in on your mental health. If you are having too many difficulties adjusting to these special circumstances, be proactive in communicating with others on a daily basis. Set up a time to reach out to colleagues, friends, family members, and those in your community. Reach out to those who may be the most vulnerable to these changes and those most physically isolated. We are all in this together and we can get through it together.

    Posted by 

    Ines Chennoufi

    In-house Legal, Private Practice

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