The Canadian Cancer Society

Working from Home: An Unfiltered Insight of how Working From Home has Impacted CCS’s Employees

This is an unprecedented time in our history – the COVID-19 health crisis is far reaching and is having an undeniable impact on people across Canada and around the world. This health crisis has also had an impact on the Canadian Cancer Society’s (CCS) employees. In order to honor our commitment to social distancing, we have all been working from home since mid-March. Our efforts in BC have had a positive impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve, and CCS is proud to be a part of this positive impact.

While we navigate into this new normal, we’ve all had mixed feelings about working from home. Healthy Workplaces has ensured that our physical and mental health doesn’t take a back seat while we adjust to our new lives. The latest challenge Healthy @ Home ensured that employees have the resources they need in order to stay physically healthy, and it provides tips on how to maintain your mental wellbeing. Our upcoming challenges will also ensure people stay healthy while working from home through healthy eating, mental well-being, and more elaborate physical health challenges.
Healthy Workplaces has reached out to CCS BCY staff, and we have compiled everyone’s answers below in hope that we can improve the “working from home” experience for everyone, and in order to discuss, and find solutions to our biggest challenges. We hope that our experience helps inspires other workplaces, and even help them tackle their own difficulties.

How are you feeling about working from home?

70% of our team are doing well! Working from home has actually had a positive impact on their lives, especially in terms of time management, and comfort. Others have stated that they have some good days, and some not so good days. That is understandable especially given the current uncertainty everyone is feeling now.

What are the main challenges that you’re facing while working from home?

The number one challenge that our team is facing while working from home is juggling childcare and work. Understandably, with limited childcare resources and with children needing to be homeschooled, some team members are finding it challenging to juggle multiple demanding roles.

In addition to the above, our team misses social connectivity! Coffee meetings, seeing colleagues every day, and bouncing off ideas over lunch are just a few things that are lacking in our new life.

Finally, not having a fully equipped desk, a comfortable chair, and office based resources has had an impact on both the team’s productivity and their physical health. In fact, 50% of our team believes that working from home has negatively impacted their physical health, especially when it comes to less movement, and an increase in the consumption of unhealthy food. The commute to work served as a physical activity for some of our colleagues, whereby they used to commute via bike, walk, or even just take the stairs if using public transport. It now takes an active effort to include this physical activity portion in the working day.

Has working from home impacted your mental well-being? If so, how?

For some, working from home has had a negative impact on their mental well-being. However, most of the team recognizes that the uncertainty of larger world events are the reason behind the mental strain everyone feels. Social distancing, the switch to virtual communication, and the stress related to the uncertainty of the future are all factors contributing to this mental strain.

What steps have you taken in order to ensure you stay healthy while working from home?

The CCS team is committed to leading by example, and has implemented certain actions to ensure they stay healthy:

  1. Integrating some sort of physical activity into the work day: that includes walking on your lunch break, quick at home workouts, and utilizing your usual commute time to working out instead. For work-out moves, check out our Healthy @ Home toolkits!
  2. Yoga and meditation: faced with uncertainty, yoga and meditation help decrese stress. Several of our team members are attending virtual yoga sessions in order to decrease stress, and learning some meditation techniques.
  3. Connectivity: staying connected to family and friends is crucial during this time. Our team members have allocated a certain time every day in order to stay connected with a loved one.
  4. Create a routine: having a routine will help organize your day, and separate your work time from your home time. It also ensures you remain productive.

For tips on how to optimize your mental well-being, check out our Mental-Wellbeing toolkit!

What advice would you give your colleagues in order to help them stay healthy while working from home?

Sharing our experience means we are committed to helping each other:

  1. Workout: Whether it’s getting up early and working out, or going for a walk, keep moving!
  2. Meal prep: Prep your meals in advance to avoid snacking throughout the day.
  3. Screen break: Give yourself an hour a day with no screen time! If the weather permits it, go outside without your phone and take a walk. More importantly, limit your exposure to the news, most likely, nothing will change overnight.
  4. Have realistic expectations: You don’t need to use this time to learn a new language or a new skill, you can be realistic about what your limitations are.
  5. Stay in touch: Call your teammates for a quick catch up a few times a week, and stay connected with your loved ones. 1. Checking in: CCS has set up check-in sessions every other day to ensure team members are kept up to date.
  6. IT and Tech support: CCS has provided its team members with the tech support necessary in order to make sure team members have everything they need, such as laptops, video conferencing support, and call diversions.
  7. Transparency: CCS has been very transparent during this difficult time. Frequent updates from our CEO and from our team leaders have been very helpful.

We hope that our journey will help your organization navigate through this uncertain times. For now, stay healthy and stay safe!  

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