By Vincent Low
I hope you’re all well and safe!
As we enter into our second month of the circuit breaker. For many of us working from home, this month has been an eye-opening one. Some of us are learning a lot about our family members’ work habits, missing the company of our colleagues, and maybe also realising that a lot of times, many of our meetings could have been easily communicated through a simple email.
Formalities aside, it’s evident that the unexpected event of COVID-19 has left a deep impact on us. The lack of certainty and control has uprooted our normal routines and this often leads to feelings of anxiety. While we can’t control the situation, we can control our response to it. Baby steps and simple habits can help us tide over this trying period, allowing us to emerge stronger on the other side.
I would like to share a few tips that have helped me better manage my emotions, and also my new work routine - here’s how I’m coping during this unprecedented time.
Transitioning from your normal routine to a new and unfamiliar one can be disorienting. During this period, you may start to feel lonely, frustrated, anxious, uncertain, or even overwhelmed. These feelings are normal - we’re in the middle of a pandemic, after all.
Take good care of your emotions, and build little habits to protect your mental health. Schedule regular breaks throughout the day, stretch more often, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Take this chance to spend valuable time with your family - these precious pockets of time with my loved ones help me cope better and also make my family stronger together.
A big challenge for businesses everywhere is ensuring a seamless transition from the office to home, making sure that projects and tasks are well managed and still on track. One aspect that remote working has spotlighted is the importance of communication. The lack of face-to-face discussions often gives rise to miscommunication and mistakes.
The key is to keep the conversation flowing between you and your colleagues. Overcommunication is helpful in this scenario - while emails and WhatsApp texts can come in handy, I find phone calls to be the quickest way to resolve any issues or misunderstandings. To relay important information, jump on a phone or video call with your team when necessary.
If you have a team under your care, remember to check in with your team members. It might be beneficial to hold regular video conferencing sessions to check up on them, using this time to clarify any questions, staying updated on the progress of certain projects and also remind them of certain work expectations while remote working. My team and I do this on a weekly basis - seeing their familiar faces are definitely a highlight of my workweek!
Leaders have to recognise their unique role and in driving social consciousness in the company, says Forbes. A research done by Edelman has shown that globally, 92% of employees find that it is critically important for the CEO to respond to challenging times and crises. This not only means providing clear direction on the company’s next steps, it also includes empowering employees during this time of crisis.
According to Harvard Business Review, social isolation is one of the biggest downsides of remote working. In the long-run, this may lead to loneliness, which can have a negative impact on both an organisation’s culture and their employees’ mental health. During your regular video conferencing calls with the team, set aside some time for social interaction. Allowing the team to catch-up beyond the topic of work will help to upkeep team morale, even when you’re talking through a virtual screen.
Empathising with your employees’ concerns builds trust between you and your team. Instead of trying to fix their issues, simply listening to their problems can help your employees feel less alone. As I’ve mentioned before, being supportive and staying positive are key factors to a team’s success, especially in tough times like these.
Working from home for a prolonged period of time is new for the bulk of our active workforce, and this can present a challenge in itself. Digitisation has become the new normal - projects and communication have all been taken online and some companies also employ digital tools and software for security and efficiency. These new work processes may require a little getting used to, especially so for the older generation, as many of us are often combobulated at the wonders of technology.
While this may seem daunting, it’s important to keep an adaptable and resilient spirit. Set aside your pride and reach out to others for help. Business leaders, remember to empower your team not only with digital tools, but also with the knowledge of how to use them. If you’re in the market for a total digital solution to support your business, Canon ONE Solution (CONES) is your answer - find out more about this holistic one-stop-solution here.
Although inconvenient, the Circuit Breaker period has given me a lot to be thankful for. Instead of complaining about the inconveniences of this C.B., I’m choosing to focus on another C.B. instead - Count Blessings. This pandemic has made me realise that I’ve taken many things for granted, such as my family, job, health, and even the opportunity to work from the safety of my home - there are large groups of people who put their lives on the line for us, such as our healthcare professionals and essential workers.
In line with Canon’s corporate philosophy, kyosei, contributing and giving back to the community plays a big part in my life, and I hope it does for you too. Be it in the form of a token donation to less privileged groups or expressing your gratitude to our frontline workers on social media, let’s do our part to embody the kyosei spirit and stay positive in this difficult time!
I hope these words encourage you to stay positive in our current situation. With this, I leave you with a final note - be kind to your loved ones, your colleagues, your community and yourself. We Singaporeans are a resilient bunch - we’ll get through this together!
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