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IHM Guest Blog: Together Apart – Remote Working in Corona Times
Derek Mowbray’s Tips for Strengthening the Resilience of Remote Workers
I became interested in the resilience of remote workers as a consequence of an invitation to talk on ’Challenges of the Lone Worker’ at a Health and Safety Conference held in ExCel, London, UK, towards the end of June 2017. This conference was responding to the changing shape of working in the UK, increasing demands for flexible working, globalisation, and the application of technology making such changes possible.
There is a current push for more people to work remotely in order to isolate as many people as possible from the threat of COVID-19. Once this pandemic is over, more people are likely to continue to work remotely, all of whom will face similar challenges.
Whilst there may be nothing we can do about the current decision to work remotely, we can control our response to this different way of working, and transform this situation into a challenge that we can rise up to and turn to our advantage.
Personality plays a part in life generally. It plays a particular part in our attitude to remote working:
- those with a preference for socialising (between 60% and 75% of the population are extraverts) as a means of getting their energy, will find remote working more challenging than
- introverts who prefer to obtain their energy from self-reflection and reading
- those who like to plan and have a structured existence (a little over half the population and favouring females) may find structuring their remote working more easily achieved than
- those who enjoy flexibility and spontaneity, who may find the ‘freedom’ of remote working a joy but probably won’t get much work done!
Whilst many people enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home, some will need to strengthen their resilience against the possible challenges of working remotely from others, such as coping with managers unskilled in the art of managing remote working, lack of motivation, isolation, boredom, a sense of abandonment, lack of feedback, and an inability to cope.
To help people through this period, I have compiled a booklet of remote working tips to provide ideas for working remotely from the organisation’s base. They cannot address all the challenges but I hope most will be applicable.
The tips mainly address remote workers who have jobs that require cognitive dexterity – who need space to think, to analyse, interpret, reflect, write and communicate with others; people who normally receive feedback on their work, who may receive supervision, fairly close management, and who may need to report their progress to others on a daily or regular basis.
I have divided the tips into the following subjects:
- resilience – what is it, and why do you need it?
- your control over remote working;
- your control over your psychological wellbeing;
- your control over your physical health;
- your control over working effectively with others;
- your control over your self-discipline.
Why use tips as a format? Tips are tips of icebergs – there is much more behind (or beneath) the tip than meets the eye. On the surface, a tip may sound simple, and common sense. However, tips require effort on your part when coming to apply them into practice. You will need to practice the tip until it becomes part of you, and you don’t need to think about it anymore.
I hope you find the tips and their explanations helpful and I wish you every success in achieving success, happiness and psychological wellbeing with your remote working.
The preparation of this booklet has been a family affair. I’m grateful to Heather Mowbray and Céline Lamée in Beijing, Hazel Mowbray in London, and Barbara Leigh in Cheltenham, (my co-director of MAS) for their ideas. The booklet and its contents, however, are down to me and Barbara.
On-line workshops via Zoom by our associate Roy Marriott:
- Strengthening Personal Resilience
- Using Zoom to deliver on line training
- Resilient Mindfulness
- IFlow Time Management
Email Barbara Leigh for further information and to tell us about your requirement.
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