Your Stories & Events

Make Yourself at Home

What to do if you just can’t Make Yourself at Home

Time 182 days ago Comments 0 comments

Whilst many previously central office-based colleagues are enjoying the lack of commute and the casual workwear, not everyone is loving working from home. The gap between the lovers and loathers may be more obvious to some than others…

I’m writing this from my dining room - fluffy sweater on (jumper if you’re Northern), hand sanitiser nearby, and snacking my way through a cupboard of biscuits, strategically positioned out of toddler reach, when I’m the only one that needs help avoiding it.

I’m getting plenty of work done, but I’m starting to get unnerved by the lack of stimulation. It’s been hours (days?) since I interacted face to face with a human who is not related to me, and cabin fever is setting in.

As the person behind the Make Yourself at Home and Let’s Get Back Together campaigns, the last six months have seen me research and issue heaps of advice, all of which I’ve taken onboard at some point or other.

I live over an hour’s drive from the office I’m usually based at, am a working parent, and my age and career choice make me a white-collar millennial. I’m supposed to be cheering on the remote work revolution!

Whilst there are elements of working from home that work really well for me, I’ve realised one simple fact from doing it repeatedly for a long period of time: I can’t be my best, most human self, when I’m not around other people at least some of the time.

“It’s a very personal decision that works for some and doesn’t work for others,” says Julia Austin, a former tech executive and professor at Harvard Business School. “Some people are more productive and happy and find other ways to get social contact if they work from home. And some people aren’t happy working alone.”

Luckily for me, I’m taking action by reaching out to friends, through my team and line manager, and bringing the challenge to our wider team meeting, so that we can all talk openly about how to support one another.

If you find yourself in a similar position, or feel that one of your team mates may be struggling, here’s how to take action:

Speak up

Just talking to someone about how you feel is a great start. That can be a colleague, your line manager, or via one of your HR team. Let them know that you’d like help in exploring what can be done differently.

Find out what’s not working

Often, when we feel something’s not working, we try to solve it as one big problem, rather than getting to the few, core smaller elements that we can actually do something about.

Have a think in more detail about exactly what aspect of working from home hinders you from being at your most creative, productive and at your happiest work self. Focus on moving those small things forward!

Do some research 

There are so many incredible ideas for combating the isolation or loss of human, social interaction that you can make use of. One internet search for virtual team-building activities returned no less than 37 options for me to put forward!

Ask for help from those who are thriving

There may be people within your team or network that thrive on working from home and wouldn’t change a thing about it. Sure, part of that will be down to their personality, but part may also be owed to good habits they’ve instilled, or they learnt from others too.

Ask for support in key areas, like how to structure your day, or ensure you’re taking breaks.

Make it a team challenge to solve

If there’s one sure-fire way of not tackling loneliness and isolation, it’s attempting to do it alone. Raise the profile up to team level and get everybody talking about and committing to helping those who struggle.

Open up to an impartial listener

Sometimes, an external outlet or unfiltered piece of advice is all it takes to start improving the situation. For a free, impartial listening ear, you can always reach out to Talk, our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Earlier this year during the peak of the pandemic, usage of our EAP more than doubled. While we never want our employees to struggle, it's great to see that colleagues reaching out for help when they need it. Remember, your EAP is not simply there as a crisis line - life management experts are there to help you through any issue you might face. It's free, so why not make the most of it?


Share this story About sharing

Send to Kindle


WasteLESS Week Winners 2020

Food waste at home? Not on Integrator’s watch!

In our previous 2020 WasteLESS Week winner stories, we’ve already explored how we can reduce food waste before it reaches customers, how tackling food waste is positive for communities, and now how we can all combat food waste closer to home.

WasteLESS Week 2020 winners

Fighting food waste and bringing people together

Continuing our WasteLESS Week 2020 winner celbrations, in our second story we’re focusing on runner’s up - the Sodexo team from Microsoft EMEA - who tackled their food waste in a very different way, choosing to donate what they could to local communities across Europe, United Arab Emirates and Africa.

National Apprenticeship Week 2021 - anything is possible graphic

Supporting communities through apprenticeships

Sodexo is proud to support a network of small and medium enterprises (SME’s), as part of our pledge to create positive social impact.

Apprenticeships - anything is possible

Achieving through adversity

Joanne Smith had worked for Sodexo for four years in a casual role, supporting on race days and functions at Ascot Racecourse. Then, in January 2020, she became Operations Manager – and in doing so, began an apprenticeship with Sodexo, studying Level 5 Operational/Departmental Management.

Sodexo Apprenticeships - anything is possible

Creating a coaching culture with apprenticeships

How do you unlock the best bits of your performance and attributes, and find the motivation within yourself to develop the areas that require improvement? HR and learning professionals, as well as business leaders, point towards the practice of coaching as an enabler to personal and organisational growth.  

Anything is possible, Sodexo Apprenticeships - Francisco Torija

Building for the future with apprenticeships

In November 2020, Sodexo UK & Ireland launched its first formal technical apprenticeship programme, designed to create the engineering skills needed in the future of the Facilities Management industry.

WasteLESS Week 2020 winners

Our 2020 WasteLESS Week winners

As a key strategic priority, food waste was taste of the town for WasteLESS Week 2020 encouraging all of you to shout about the ways you’re reducing food waste both on-site and at home. With WRAP’s Food Waste Action Week around the corner, we’re sharing our 2020 winner’s recipe for success.

NAW 2021

National Apprenticeship Week 2021

This week (8 to 14 February 2021) in the UK is National Apprenticeship Week 2021, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the success of our Sodexo colleagues regioanally, and share the possibilities afforded to us all by modern apprenticeships.

RVS logo

Volunteering to stop the spread

Over the coming weeks, the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), as well as some local authorities, will be searching for volunteers to support efforts to recover from the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Sodexo is assisting the RVS and UK Government by promoting the opportunities available. Can you lend a helping hand?