Mental Health & Working Remotely, How Can it be Managed?

10th October

Published by Charlotte Mia Sperrin

10th October

It’s World Mental Health Day. A day to openly discuss, share experiences and break down stigma. My name is Charlotte and as the Senior Designer at Jago, I want to use today to openly share and discuss an ongoing subject surrounding working remotely and mental health and what we can do as a company to manage it.

You get home at 7 pm which should have been 6 pm but there was traffic, you enjoy your evening, set your alarm for 5.30 which could be seven but you have to allow for delays in your commute, you get up, get to your office, discuss office politics by the water cooler, have your hour for lunch at your desk, put your eight hours in and do it all again. Sound familiar? Well maybe not every detail, but all of us has at least experienced one of these scenarios.

You dream about breaking free from the 9-5 job, working remotely, being autonomous. Sounds ideal right? Well, mostly it is! With more people working remotely than ever, it’s quite easy to think it is the answer to all of your office frustration woes. However, it takes the right company and a certain mindset to make it work for you. Working remotely has the potential to be detrimental to your mental health if not managed correctly. It can be difficult to mentally clock off, it can be a struggle to manage your environment and it also has the potential to cause a feeling of social isolation. These are a few struggles that a lot of remote workers come across on a daily basis.

At Jago we are centered around our core values: People First; Think Big; Actively Listen; Be Authentic; Make it Happen. This is reflected in everything we do whether that be client communications, internal meetings or company decisions. Being value-centric allows us as a company to constantly develop in the direction that is right for all of us. There are plenty of ways to manage your mental health as a remote worker, and its different for everyone. However, what can the company do to actively encourage a positive mindset in the workplace?

1. Regular Meet-Ups
Whether it be for a meeting, to pitch an idea or just to share ideas. Regular meetups are vital at Jago. Being a remote company makes us naturally more intentional with our time, so no one ever turns up unprepared. Successful meetings equal fulfilled employees.

2. A Reflection Hour
It is extremely important whether you are working remotely or in an office that you reflect on current and past projects. We start and end each week with a company-wide reflection hour; this gives us the space to discuss what went well, and what we could improve.

3. Success Criteria
No great project started without knowing the reason for beginning in the first place. Why would you sail through something without considering what success looks like? We define what success looks like for the client and for each of us at Jago. This ensures that each of us is getting what we need out of the project while working remotely.

4. Colleague Appreciation Space

At the end of the week, we wrap it all up by recognizing those stand out moments, whether it be collaboration, time management or just something someone has done that made your week! This space provides gratification and fulfilment from being recognised, important in all industries remote or not!

5. Regular Conversation
Just because we working remotely, doesn’t meet that office chit chat is off the table, sure, its a virtual water cooler we stand around, but nevertheless the memes, gifs & general on-topic discussions are equally as if not more entertaining. It’s good to have the correct channels set up to create a space for everyone to start a discussion; using Slack enables us to manage various conversations and use each space appropriately.

6. Socials
Yes, the kind you dread when working in an office. When someone organizes ‘drinks’ and about 2 out 30 in the department turn up. However, when working remotely socials are a great way to shake off that potential social isolation feeling. Being remote also gives the advantage that we aren’t in an office based in a city so won’t end up going down the road to the same bar every time. Organising genuinely interesting days out that are both challenging and fun is a lot easier when the world is your oyster.

7. Development
Development is key to enable you to thrive and feel fulfilled. It shouldn’t be put to the side for when you have time, because guess what? There will never be time. As employees at Jago, we each have the opportunity to develop in areas we really want to work on by addressing them monthly and then getting the support and investment from the business to go for it.

8. Stepping out of your comfort zone
The sentence alone is enough to make you seize up right? But it is true, being encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone can do wonders for your confidence and overall mental wellbeing. I have personally been intentionally pushed out of my comfort zone several times during my time at Jago and encouraged to take up responsibilities and tasks that I would have previously deemed a big no go. This time last year I would of never of had the confidence to stand up in front of a corporate boardroom for an international finance company in Central London and pitch my design, yet that is exactly what I did this summer. Everyone has different levels of comfort but being surrounded by a supportive team that pushes you can really boost not only your career but your confidence as an individual.

9. Plan, Plan & Share
Finally, if anything will help you to bring a positive mindset to work, it’s planning. As a remote company, Jago makes sure the week is planned out on Monday as everyone’s schedules are shared; this means we know what everyone is doing and when. This helps us use our time effectively and importantly, manage our time and know when to switch off! Using a tool like Google Calendar is a great way to know what you should be doing and when. Online tools can be great, but it is also great to plan ahead. For this, we created the Jago weekly planner, which also includes sections for reflection. You can download your own Jago Daily Planner here and get planning!

On a finishing note, no issue is ever too small to discuss, encourage an environment in the workplace where you can be open and honest, everyone has shit days and that’s okay.

Stay Happy!