10 precepts to follow in telework, Personal efficiency

« Borner journée, fin claire régulière droit, devoir besoin humain décompresser, ressourcer. »

(…) If recharging oneself psychologically during one’s personal life can make it possible to compensate for the effects of exhausting work, we will see that there are also psychological recovery behaviors during the time of work, which are just as powerful for good mental health. (…) Here are some extremely positive good telework practices (…).

#1. Know how to relax and be able to forget about work

(…) The fact of closing his computer is not enough; you have to support your mind so that it can make the transition by establishing new rituals: putting away all the work items, listening to music with headphones (as you could do in transport), snacking with your children, making sports, cooking… The main thing is to block these times each week and to ritualize them on a daily basis. (…)

#2. Separating the professional from the personal

This implies a clear distinction of living spaces, although this is more or less feasible depending on the size of the dwelling. If the office is in the bedroom, for example, you have to make sure you don’t see the bed, create a visual environment that marks the work (organization chart, documents pinned to the wall, etc.) and put everything away when the day gets busy. complete. (…)

#3. Take real breaks

(…) Cognitive ergonomics teaches us that a person’s ability to concentrate in front of a computer is limited to a certain number of minutes, beyond which it deteriorates markedly. Not allowing yourself breaks is therefore clearly counterproductive, especially when a feeling of monotony sets in with the series of tasteless e-meetings. (…)

#4. Maintain quality social contacts at work

(…) We know that employees who have a regular telephone conversation with their manager feel much better, as do people working in pairs, regular contact often being synonymous with support and listening.

Even if it requires a small investment of time, it is therefore healthy to seek to maintain a form of spontaneous contact (via a call, or a “video”), if only by sharing certain moments of break with a colleague .

#5. Structure your time

Our body lives to the rhythm of circadian cycles that alternately generate hormones specific to wakefulness and sleep. Getting up and going to bed at the same time thus avoids constantly disorienting this natural mechanism, and therefore unnecessarily constraining yourself. As long as they remain regular, these rhythms can be slightly shifted on weekends in order to indicate to the brain that it is in “rest”.

Structuring also means planning the following week on Friday evening, and its days the day before, in particular by updating a to-do list at the start of each evening, this ritual being quite useful for making the transition between work and rest. Continuing to segment your day as it was face-to-face also helps the brain to identify its phases more clearly. (…)

#6. Pay attention to your diet

(…) Structuring your diet contributes to structuring your days. Batch cooking, which consists of planning your meals for the week and cooking them in advance, is a good solution to save time and free yourself from an additional mental load. Giving yourself two hours on Sunday or making a little larger quantities in the evening leaves time for a real lunch break at noon, without preparation time. The fact of programming them also encourages people to eat healthier and more balanced than by improvising them at the last moment.

#7. Break the activity down into small tasks

The psychological effects of “forced” telework (lack of energy, weariness, inertia) can lead to postponing something that was not urgent and may become so, thus generating unnecessary stress. The temptation to procrastinate often appears when a task seems to us too complex, even insurmountable with regard to our state of the moment.

A solution to fight against this discouragement is to break down the work into small tasks that we will take care to note and cross out as we go. Each daunting and nevertheless accomplished mission can also be the occasion of a particular reward. A job broken down into small tasks almost always turns out to be less tiring and time-consuming than you thought. In addition, its accomplishment provides particularly rewarding satisfaction: which restores confidence and energy.

#8. Stop working at good hours

This practice is important for its exemplary value, especially when applied by a manager or leader. It is therefore essential that everyone commits to it. Limiting your day, having a clear and regular end is a right, a duty and a human need to decompress, recharge your batteries and preserve a vital balance between professional and personal lives.

#9. Asking for and offering help

(…) Offering help and asking for it must go hand in hand: you have to have the presence of mind to say to yourself “my problem, someone else may encounter it or has already experienced it”. Asking for support is a form of lucidity: in the premises, in normal times, informal contacts made it possible to ask for it or offer it spontaneously.

#10. Pay attention to isolated people

The way everyone in the team acts has an impact on everyone’s psychological health. Striving to be there for others is also beneficial to one’s own well-being: after having helped someone, one often feels better about oneself. Taking care of isolated people also has the virtue of setting an example; it will inspire others to do it for everyone, including yourself.

Christophe Nguyen co-wrote with Jean-Pierre Brun the book “Psychological health at work and covid-19”, published by Deboeck Supérieur.

The author:

Holder of a Specialized Masters from ESSEC in Human Resources Management and a Masters in Work Psychology, Christophe Nguyen first practiced in the field of employer branding and corporate skills management before co-founding Empreinte Humaine, a consulting firm specializing in Occupational Health. This text co-signed with Elodia Doncel Perez is an extract from her book “Psychological health at work and covid-19”, co-written with Jean-Pierre Brun published by Deboeck Supérieur in September 2021, 240 pages, 24.90 euros.

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