How to overcome depression caused by working from home
Working from home full-time is likely to be a new phenomenon for you. You’ve probably already noticed many differences both good and bad as compared to work at your office. And you may already have noticed changes in your mood.
But one thing definitely hasn’t changed: working together with teammates, bosses and subordinates remains absolutely necessary. It’s the nature of those collaborations that’s altered significantly, and that’s what you need to hold in your mind to avoid feeling low or depressed.
So what’s different about working together at home?
In person meetings are now off the table of course. So substitutes are required.
Let’s start with some useful communication tools to stay in touch and organise your work.
Aside from the phone and email, your working from home communications should feature phone or video conferencing software now. Your company might already have made the decision for you here, but there are several options to choose from if you’re unsure what to use.
You’re probably already familiar with Skype. Skype is immensely useful for voice and video conference calls as well as simple text messaging. Zoom is a popular alternative that fulfills many of the same functions if Skype is unavailable or impractical.
Some firms are using Cisco Webex and GoTo Meeting. Microsoft Teams is also an option if your company uses Microsoft Office.
There’s also WhatsApp for organising office calls when working together at home. However, it’s more of a social media app than actual business software.
The key point is to find a solution that works for everyone. Learn its quirks quickly, then make it a smooth and painless part of your everyday communications.
Meanwhile there’s another piece of working from home software you might find handy: consider Trello for organising your team’s workflow.
Trello uses a system of cards to represent projects and their passage to and from various persons in the company. It’s minimalistic but that makes it quick to learn and easy to use. Trello helps you stay on top of things and you’re far less likely to overlook a critical file or piece of data once you get the hang of Trello’s card system.
Alternatives to Trello include Asana, Basecamp and Jira.
The main idea here is to keep everyone’s workflow organised. That way you’ll avoid a barrage of often unnecessary emails flying back and forth and clogging up inboxes all across your team.
Home Working Tools are just the beginning …
You also need to change your mindset when working together at home.
For example, never assume things. Always clarify ideas and decisions because there’s much greater scope for mis-understandings when you’re not in the same room as your colleagues.
Texting can be particularly bad for this type of error. If you feel you’re not getting the point across, stop texting or messaging and move to voice. Voice chat makes a lot of your inflections and emotions clearer. Video chat is even better at conveying body language if your Internet bandwidth is up to the task.
Be proactive about getting in touch before a small problem snowballs into a large one.
In the same vein, you also need to be more rigorous about your documentation when working together at home: always keep track of your progress, meeting notes, and project or task status. Share your documentation wherever possible to ensure everyone’s working from the same source.
Again, this is to avoid misunderstandings that lead to wasted work, missed deadlines and frayed tempers.
Also think about ways to keep your work relationships intact. A group chat channel for social interactions could be very helpful here, especially if people are feeling stressed about the latest Coronavirus, economic news or impact on the business itself. You could also arrange times for informal conversations where people can catch up, swap stories and feel like they’re part of the team.
The key theme behind all these ideas is to avoid slipping into an isolated work experience where everyone’s on their own and communications (and morale) are poor.
Speaking of morale, do a “gut check” of your own thoughts and moods during these rather unusual times. Stay informed by the news, not overwhelmed by it. Think positive thoughts and practise healthy habits.
Also, be sure to develop and remain aware of your sense of purpose when you’re on your own at home. What are you really doing at your company that matters? What are your special skills and contributions? What makes you valuable?
It’s important to hang onto these insights because you won’t be getting quite the same amount of feedback about your accomplishments when you’re working from home.
You might even let your thoughts stray to your career progression at this time. If working from home is going well for you and you really enjoy it, what are your career possibilities overall?
What are the new opportunities and emerging trends and markets you might want to consider?
The key point is to be aware of the possibilities. Don’t see working from home as a setback. Treat it as an opportunity to learn new skills, attitudes and ideas.
If you have any questions about how to make the best of working from home, be sure to contact us by completing the form on this page.