One thing we’ve discovered as being much more important than we’d previously given credit to is our mental health. Sure, the buzzwords have been flying around for years – work/life balance, mindfulness, even “taking a mental health day” – but many of us have never really taken it completely to heart.
Whatever your attitude or opinion about the current pandemic – and our reactions are almost as diverse as we are – it’s important to use this opportunity to take stock, and take care. Of ourselves, as much as others.
In recent posts, we’ve talked about different ways to keep your business and your customer service standards running smoothly while working from home, but keeping your team on an even keel while they adjust to these extraordinary changes should also be at the core of your endeavours.
We’ve done some exploration into the realm of self-care for you and your agents, and come up with a list of four things you can do to stay on top of stress.
1. Take regular breaks
We saw this pop up a lot in our reading and in our conversations, especially now we’re in work-from-home mode. In their article, “How to Help Call Centre Agents Deal with Stress”, Callcentrehelper.com put “leaving work at the door” at the top of their list. It’s not so easy to make that distinction when you’re living on the premises, so coach your agents on the benefits of taking regular breaks. These can take the form of simply changing work tasks, or getting outside for some fresh air and exercise.
Alternatively, they may find reaching out to a colleague to talk through an issue can help – something they’d normally have easy access to in the workplace – or switching modes completely using laughter, either from reading a few jokes or watching a brief, uplifting YouTube video.
2. Spend some time on informal chat at the start or end of your team meetings
Earlier this year, Vodafone UK reported on the Top 10 things workers missed while they were working from home, chief among them being the companionship and light-hearted conversations they shared with colleagues. While your team is spread out across different locations, perhaps you could allow some extra time during your regular meetings to catch up and re-connect about non-work related subjects.
Lifestyle blog, Live Bold & Bloom, suggests a strong support network as one of its 15 Emotional Self-Care Ideas for Stressful Times. Your staff will form part of each other’s support network as a result of their close working relationship. It’s important you all stay connected to make sure no one feels more isolated than they need to be.
3. Maintain healthy habits
For some of us, the idea of working from home, still in our PJs or our tracky daks can tempt us into relaxing other routines. Poor nutrition can have a huge impact on our moods and mindsets, contributing to depression and stress.
Maintaining some of our workday habits – like showering and dressing in work clothes in the morning, or packing a healthy lunch to enjoy “at work” (e.g. in the back garden – see ‘regular breaks’ above) – can help us stay sharp, and feeling good about ourselves.
As well as taking regular, short breaks, encourage your team to take some time out, either at lunch time, or after the shift is over, to take some time out for themselves. They may want to meditate, go for a walk or a run, practice yoga, or spend some time in the garden or on a favourite hobby.
Taking time out helps focus the mind in a different direction, and can release the stresses and worries of the day.
Death, taxes, and …
One other certainty is tough times come up again and again. While these techniques can help you and your team get through our current, collective challenge, don’t forget them once this hump has passed. Establishing positive stress management habits now will help us all reap the benefits not just in the present, but for years to come.