by Katherine Kehoe, Digital Content Specialist on Aug 18, 2022
In 2020, Rogers employees began Mental Wellness Monday, a series of stories on our intranet showing how colleagues around Rogers create positivity for themselves to help relieve stress and avoid burnout. It is a series that exemplifies a significant amount of trust between our colleagues. This month, Digital Content Specialist Katherine Kehoe has chosen to share her story.
Over the past couple of years adapting to hybrid and work-from-home schedules, I have learned that being physically removed from other people is both a blessing and a curse for mental health and productivity. In some ways, I thrive with more time working at home — I have less distractions during the workday and more time before and after work to focus on my personal life. Along with much of the workforce, throughout the pandemic I have learned to love this extra freedom and flexibility. Even so, there are occasionally days when days working remotely can feel long and isolating.
At Rogers, I work on the Communications Team. I got into this field because I enjoy communicating with other people in all the ways that entails. My mental health improves (and my loneliness decreases) when I have enough social opportunities and time spent around the energy of other people. Recognizing this reality was my first step to adapting to achieve the best of both worlds. Today, I have found a few strategies that help me find joy and balance in a world of hybrid and remote working.
While I am not advocating for overbooking meetings or packing calendars, I have found that it is important to stay connected to my teammates throughout the week in meetings, using a few minutes of each to connect with my colleagues on a personal level whenever possible. Efficient meetings reinvigorate my workday and break up the quiet times, so I try and embrace them. If I have a week light on meetings, I try and take a would-be IM chat and have it over the phone. Finding a balance between meetings and solo work maximizes the benefits of connection while allowing for the extra productivity remote workers enjoy from peace and quiet.
Prioritizing Social Time After Work
When I was working in the office five days out of the week, my social battery could easily drain by the end of each day. I used to see friends strictly on the weekends, and it felt like enough of a balance. When working from home, I have more energy to meet up with friends in the evenings. I now enjoy planning for weeknight dinners, exercise classes and walks at local parks. Physically seeing people outside of my household during the week brings me joy and keeps me from relying too heavily on family to meet all my needs for human connection. If my friends are booked, attending in-person events and classes are great alternatives with the same benefits.
Teambuilding events and activities are just as important for hybrid and work-from-home employees as they are for traditional staff, especially when teams live in the same area and have the ability for face-to-face interaction. Teambuilding events can be large or small and have similar effects. On one instance, my team met up for morning coffee and took our normal remote meetings in person for the day. These efforts are simple but help break up the routine. In the height of the pandemic when no in-person options were available, we found ways for fully digital teambuilding as well. Personally, I always appreciate scheduling opportunities for connection and think they help spark creativity without sacrificing the benefits of remote work.
These are a few simple suggestions that have worked for me, and if you made it this far, thanks for reading! Mental wellness and physical connection are so important. I hope my colleagues and other remote workers are encouraged to stay connected, both at work and outside of work, as we all continue to adapt to a more hybrid and remote workforce.