It’s well documented that working alone can cause stress and feelings of isolation, both of which can then impact on physical health. With the additional stress of facing potentially risky situations, there’s no wonder that many lone workers aren’t very satisfied with their jobs or may leave for other professions.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of employee absence, affecting 526,000 workers in 2016/17 according to this article by the Health and Safety Executive. Every employer has an obligation to protect their employees from harm, but there are also things you can do to help yourself stay happy and healthy when working alone.
Here are our top five tips:
Keep in contact throughout the day
Keeping in contact with your employer is an important task when working alone. Not just for safety reasons but sometimes for your own sanity! Whether its just a quick call to a colleague to catch up, or notifying your boss where you are going, maintaining contact will help you from feeling isolated or like you aren’t ‘part of the team’.
Take regularly scheduled breaks
Overworking leads to unhappiness. Take regular breaks to gather your thoughts and reflect on the day so far. this doesn’t have to be a long break – even ten minutes with a cup of tea can help you refocus and ready to crack on with the rest of your day.
Join in with work activities/social events
If your employer runs events for employees or your colleagues sometimes go down the pub on a Friday, then try to join in where you can. Working alone can make you feel very much like you aren’t part of a wider team so joining in with company events will enable you to make friends, share experiences and of course, blow off some steam! If your employer doesn’t host any activities for employees, why not suggest it? You could even volunteer to help organise one!
it’s a cliché, but eating healthy and being active really does wonders for your mental health. If you are feeling down about work, anxious or stressed, the first thing you should do is speak to your employer. But, in the meantime, you can help lift your mood or release some of the pressure by joining a gym or taking a walk on your lunch breaks. Ensuring that you also get three meals a day and regular snacks will also help regulate your blood pressure and keep you feeling better.
Talk about work/incidents
Following any lone worker incident, your employer should do a follow-up report anyway, but don’t feel afraid to ask if you need additional support. This could just be a chat with a colleague or it may include counselling. Everyone is different and what might not seem a big deal to one person, can seriously dent another’s confidence. Speak up and talk to your employer about what support you need.
Still Not Sure About Working Alone?
If you are a lone worker and have concerns about your safety or well-being, then it’s your job to speak up and talk to your employer. They might not know how you feel or think that you are coping just fine. Any serious concerns over safety should be dealt with immediately, if you think you have spotted a potential risk that isn’t covered by the lone worker risk assessment that your employer should have done, then report it straight away.