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A consultant's view of solitary working
Date of Issue: Tuesday, 12 May, 2020
By Anne Mallory MIIRSM of Mallory Health and Safety Consultants Ltd
As a health and safety consultant working for my own limited company for some 16 plus years, I have got used to being everyone’s friend but no one’s friend when it comes to client relationships.
I have been very blessed by having loyal clients who have engaged my services for a long number of years but it is a very different relationship compared to working full time on a client site or working as an employee. I have a wide variety of clients and have great working relationships with all of them there is a closeness to certain key people but yet again there is not.
Distance is part of the consultancy game this gives you the ability to be objective and helps you to provide a viewpoint from outside the box. Allied to this distance benefit are some downsides for example very often you are “working alone” you have to be self-resilient and very disciplined.
Changes that have come into place as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic in terms of home working challenges are very much part of a consultants’ lifestyle in terms of providing an office in the home environment.
A suggested mantra that helps me, consists of the 3 R’s which help to cope with the isolation of working from home:
- R = ROUTINE
- R = RELAXATION / REST
- R = RE-SET
To explain a bit more:
ROUTINE - you have to create structure where no structure exists. This can be a huge challenge when trying to fit in the needs of family particularly where children are at being home schooled.
No matter how trivial or small, for example having an 11am cup of coffee perhaps in the garden after you have completed 2 hours of work, an element of self-reward is so important.
Develop you own “working day” that suits you and allows you to have time for the other two R’s. Routine should also include communication with colleagues, clients and management. It is vital to build yourself a support structure within your work routine to mitigate feeling of isolation and uncertainty arising from what you are doing day to day.
Remember you are in control of this all you have to do is take the first step to start a conversation!
RELAXATION / REST - by this I mean it is very easy to get drawn in to overworking or not taking breaks away from job tasks. When there is no physical separation of the work location it is hard to switch off completely.
Sometimes you just have to turn the laptop, mobile etc. off and walk away! This is the time to reach out to family and friends using all the avenues available with digital technology. Take a few moments for yourself during the day to clear your mind and make sure that you try to establish a structured sleeping routine. Rest is vital to having the resilience to cope with any long-term situation.
RE-SET - this means taking your mind off what you do day to day.
It might be your allowed sport activity, a walk, playing a musical instrument but preferably something away from digital devices as a re-set for your mind.
There are many helpful guides and advice about homeworking from practical advice to how to set up a good workstation at home, to how to use technology to communicate during the Coronavirus lockdown. If you can use this information in line with the 3 R’s then it can help to develop a sustainable way of working at home that fits in with your own individual needs and of those around you in these challenging times.
Keep safe and well!