Operating in the virtual workspace has many benefits, but it would be remiss to not acknowledge the challenges and shortcomings, especially those exasperated by the pandemic. It seems fair to say that pre-pandemic, the option to work remotely was generally perceived as a perk – it allowed more flexibility, more autonomy. However, with the pandemic and nation-wide lockdowns, remote work became the requirement, not the option, for many of us. It became a struggle to separate work life from home life, feeling pressure to be available at all times of the day and working longer hours than ever before. Even at Lux, where we have been operating remotely for over five years, our team members still needed to navigate the virtual workplace in unprecedented times, with new “office mates,” separation from friends and loved ones, and overall feelings of uncertainty.
Within our busy space along with the onset of a pandemic, political and social issues, Lux stands behind our staff in encouraging employee wellness to have a healthy work/life balance. With last month being Mental Health Month, we challenged ourselves to pause and reflect on how we can continue to promote and encourage wellness in the virtual workplace. Here are some of our best practices and lessons learned:
- Acknowledge burnout. This shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Talk about burnout, so your team knows the signs and can preemptively act on it.
- Set boundaries. Have a dedicated space in your home for work and work only. Or, shut down your computer at the end of the day. Mute email alerts on your phone after business hours.
- Take breaks. Take even just a few minutes to stretch or get some fresh air. Eat lunch away from your work space. Schedule breaks into your day.
- Chat with teammates. Conversations with coworkers shouldn’t be all work all the time. Share a YouTube video that made you laugh. Schedule a virtual lunch break with a colleague. Host a company virtual social to share news and play games (totally recommend Jackbox TV games for this).
- Ask for help. One of the biggest challenges in the virtual workplace is that we can’t always see when someone is struggling to keep up. Share any need for additional support or resources with your managers or HR.
When it comes down to it, there’s only so much work you can complete in a day. Know your limitations, set boundaries, and don’t forget to make time to celebrate the little wins along the way.