Since the beginning of the lockdown, many of us at Tapestry have been grappling with working from home and the challenges that entails. From having a good work/life balance to the bigger worries about what is happening all around the world, it has definitely been a difficult time for all of us.
The MRS together with &more hosted a webinar for young researchers all about how to survive and thrive throughout the current crisis. Along with discussing coping mechanisms, members also talked about their own personal experiences during the lockdown and broader support for mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health in the industry
Right at the start of the webinar, counsellor and MRS fellow, Paul Vittles pointed out that market researchers are more likely to experience stress and mental health problems compared to those working in other industries. One reason for this could be that market researchers put a lot of pressure on themselves to have all the answers and set high expectations for themselves. In an industry that is already high stress, the added anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic will only exacerbate these existing problems. It is always important to look after your mental health, but it’s even more essential during the current crisis.
One thing that kept coming up during the discussion was the importance of keeping work and home life as separate as possible, and how difficult that is when we’re stuck at home all the time. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Setting up an office area and only using that area of your home for working.
- Noise cancelling headphones if you live somewhere with lots of people and noise going on around you.
- Defining set working hours (and time for breaks) and agreeing these with your team so that everyone is aware of when everyone else is working – because it’s really hard to stick to your working hours if your colleagues don’t!
- Taking time for hobbies/wellbeing – whether that’s reading a book, stroking a cat, calling a friend for a chat, yoga or going for a jog – it’s essential to spend time doing things you enjoy.
Some of the things we’ve been doing at Tapestry include always having our video turned on during meetings so we can see each other’s lovely faces and virtual Friday night games and drinks.
Another great suggestion was to make sure you have enough support available if/when you need it. Even if you feel fine now, it’s good to have an idea of what help is available for if you, or someone you know, becomes distressed. Taking a bit of time to do some research (we like research!) into support available in your area, like GPs, community support groups, online support etc. means you’ll be fully prepared and feel more in control.
The main take out for me was to be kind to yourself! If you’re having a bad day try and treat yourself with the same compassion you would a friend who was struggling.
A lot of us have been feeling guilty for enjoying parts of the lockdown, like working from home, not commuting and spending more time with family, but there’s no reason to feel guilty – we’re all just doing the best we can while we navigate a global pandemic!
“You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”