The importance of looking after our mental health has been and still is a key topic of discussion, even long before coronavirus reshaped society on an international level.
Upon reflection, that’s why this year’s World Mental Health Day on Saturday was probably the most significant one yet and with a theme of “Mental Health for All”, it’s clear to see that it is more important than ever to make support for mental health issues more accessible to all, removing any taboo or categorisation around the subject.
2020 has been a year of uncertainty, challenges and major change to both our personal and professional lives. Our working lives were already changing due to developing technologies in the workplace. Meaning that many businesses have been adopting more flexible working practices such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom conferences, even prior to the unprecedented situation that we now find ourselves in.
This didn’t seem so bad at first, mostly because businesses and individuals had freedom of choice to do this. For instance, we could decide to work from home if it better suited our family-life and job role, or we could choose to dial into a call instead of travelling across the country to a face-to-face meeting if it was more convenient. The large scale and rapid effects of this pandemic though, has meant that we were forced into a situation where we have all had to adapt far quicker than we could have imagined, uprooting our personal and professional lives in order to contain an unpredictable virus. All this on top of the fact we were no longer able to socialize and hug our loved ones, with restrictive access to well, just about everyone. Ultimately, this has led to an increase in anxiety and stress, both of which are detrimental to our mental health.
The effects of working from home have been felt by everyone – both positively and negatively. For us, at first it was a novelty; we felt like we could be more productive, not getting distracted by constant phone calls or FOMO from conversations between our colleagues. It also meant that we would make more of a conscious effort to stay connected to each other; usually it is easy to take this for granted when you see your colleagues every day in the office. We would plan in more frequent meetings and catch ups or virtual drinks after work on a Friday to keep staff morale high. Not to forget the perks of avoiding the rush hour traffic!
But I’m sure you can agree, all of this can soon become overshadowed by feelings of anxiousness, isolation and stress at the inability to properly separate work and home life when you’re trying to do both under the same roof.
When the news came that we could finally go back into the office, we couldn’t be more excited! We’re a bunch of creative individuals who thrive off of brainstorming activities, bouncing ideas off of one another and being a generally close-knit team who function better together, like cogs in a machine. Not only do we now have social distancing measures and hand sanitizing stations in place, we also ensure that we have a much clearer support network for those struggling to adapt to the “new normal”; especially for those who came back off of furlough and needed that extra bit of TLC to help reconnect them with the workplace routine.
And we do all of this, the Drunk Animal way…
Take regular breaks
We boast a games corner, foosball table and Rooster Club Bar here at Drunk Animal Studios, having plenty of space to step away from our desks to stay refreshed, keeping those creative juices flowing throughout the day.
We make sure everyone gets some fresh air on their lunch too – we’ve got to keep our Roosters moving!
Be open and honest
Being a close-knit team means we build strong relationships, both personally and professionally. Everyone looks out for each other and checks in regularly, because we all know things can get a bit overwhelming sometimes.
Stick to those social bubbles
We’re there for each other – but at a distance. The new normality of working in an office again is that we don’t just have to look out for everyone’s mental health now more than ever, but our physical health too.
What have you been doing to offer a little bit of extra support to your employees, whether that’s done being back in the office or still working from home?
It’s safe to say that the effects of this tumultuous year are going to be pretty long-lasting both economically and socially. Prioritising mental health is not just for one World Mental Health Day, but every day.
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