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Adapting To Change – Health and Wellbeing From Home

10th April 2020Posted by: Sumo Digital

It’s been a few weeks since all of our teams began working from home, with many of us adapting to the new normal.  

Whilst everyone’s experiences of remote working are different, there are the added perks of avoiding the commute, spending lunch breaks with our families or pets, and making our teammates laugh with a few more memes than usual. 

Working from home has been a necessary change to keep our employees safe and at one time or another, most people will find that it can be difficult to strike the perfect balance between work and home life. We’ve been speaking to our Group HR Manager, Jo Hinkley, and Learning and Development Manager, Jenny Muhlwa, about ways to meet the challenge of working from home, how to help tackle the natural anxiety that comes with working during a global pandemic, and other ways game developers can look after themselves. 

Your office away from the office 

Create a work space with the equipment you need to hand that allows you to focus. Avoid working from bed or the sofa if you have a desk and a comfortable chair you can use instead – your back will thank you for it.  

If you can, set up your equipment in a different room so you can physically close the door at the end of the day in order to help you to mentally ‘switch off’. This is also a good way of minimising distractions while you’re working too!  If you’re unable to do this, think about ‘zoning’ your work area with the furniture you have, screen it off or even cover it up and clear away work ‘clutter’ at the end of the day. 

Make sure wherever you’re working is well-lit and comfortable, and is a space you want to work in. It might only be temporary but making your ‘office’ personalised and as enjoyable as possible will help put your mind at ease and focus on your work at hand. 

Amazing desk set-up from @SumoKieran!

A routine that works for you 

Without the morning commute and rush out of the house, use this extra time to get yourself into ‘work mode’ in other ways. This could be by exercising, having a virtual coffee with your team, having breakfast with the family or spending some time to yourself relaxing with a hobby.  Having a set morning routine throughout the week can really help. 

As much as possible, try and set yourself core hours to work in the day that work for you: this can be a really good way of making sure you’re not overworking and switching off when you need to, especially if you’re needed for tasks around the home later in the day.   

Make sure that you take regular breaks away from your screen to reset and recharge – stretch, get yourself a drink or something to eat, have some fresh air or put the washing on.  Break the day up as would happen naturally in the office from your interactions with others. 

It’s also a great idea to keep your family or roommates informed of when you’re working (pets or toddlers might not take heed!) – so you know you’ll have a few hours at least of uninterrupted work time in the day.   

If you’re finding it hard to concentrate, keep on top of your tasks by writing lists or working in sprints of 25 minutes. Morning team scrums can also be the motivator you need to tackle your daily tasks!  Celebrate all of your achievements during this period, even if one day they may seem small. 

At the end of your working day, find some way of marking it to help you ‘switch off’, maybe a virtual wave to your colleagues, tidying up your work space, taking a short walk or changing into different clothes. 

If your routine isn’t working for you, think about what could make a difference.  Sometimes small changes can motivate you to get back on track. 

Don’t forget to have a coffee and a catch up with your team 😊 (Thank you @asphaltOnline for sharing this pic with #SumoFromHome)

Check in on yourself and your team 

It’s important to check in on your mental health and the wellbeing of your team regularly.  Without prioritising self-care, you won’t be able to support those around you.   Working from home can be isolating, as you miss out on all those little daily interactions you get in the office so you may need to make more effort than usual to communicate.  Be kind to yourself too, it’s perfectly ok to have good days and not so good days but remember that these times will pass and focussing on things you enjoy can really help. 

Spend time consciously socialising virtually with your team, friends and family. Gaming nights, hobby evenings, or just frequent catch ups throughout the day become extra important when working from home. We made our very own hashtag to keep our teams connected which is full of pics from our wonderful colleagues (#SumoFromHome).  You could also use this time as an opportunity to learn a new skill with a wealth of content online which has recently been freely made available.  Here at Sumo, we’re accelerating the implementation of our new social learning platform in partnership with Udemy to provide our employees with valuable learning content whether it be professional or a hobby. 

At Sumo, we have trained Mental Health First Aiders who are available to support our teams, both in our studios and now online as well as an Employee Assistance Programme which offers support and resources for concerns in all areas of life and includes access to remote GP, mental health and physio appointments. If you feel overwhelmed, you can also lean on a whole host of resources out there from Mind, the Samaritans, Mental Health First Aid England, Anxiety UK or Gov.UK,  or speak to people you trust in your circle about how you’re feeling.   

Most importantly: understand what you can and can’t control. Whilst we can’t control what goes on in the world around us, limiting yourself to how much exposure you have to news or social media may help reduce anxiety, as well as consciously practising regular hand washing and social distancing and turning your attention to activities around the home.

 

While it may only be temporary, we’re beyond proud of our teams for adjusting to the #SumoFromHome way of working!  

If you want to join us, we’re hiring for roles across all seven of our UK studios, and at our Pune studio in India. Check out our blog on changes to our recruitment process or take a look at our open roles.

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