Coping mechanisms The Workplace

REMOTE WORKING AND DYSPRAXIA

All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born. In his poem Easter 1916 WB Yeats wrote this line. As someone who has been commuting last the last 13 years between college and work this line has gained more value recently.

Due to the Covid 19 outbreak I am now working from home so my daily commute has gone from 90 minutes each day to the time it takes me to get from my kitchen to bedroom so about 9 seconds. After years of wishing for a shorter commute I have it but it brings a whole new set of issues.

While the below is written from my eyes as someone who is Dyspraxic some of the items may apply whether you are neurodiverse or not.

ROUTINE

Routine is very important to me and when my routine is knock off course it can be very off putting. While working at home keeping a routine is needed to keep you on course. In most I am trying to keep it as close to what it would have been if I was based in the office. This is taking teabreaks and lunch at the same time. Getting up in the morning making sure I shower/shave get dressed. While those last 3 may seems a little mundane they are important. Getting dressed will help two fold. 1) if your manager decides to video call you out of the blue you will at least be dressed casual rather then in your nightwear. 2) By getting dressed you are also telling your mind that it is time to do something and work. Which in return will make you more efficient. It is also the case that you may have to juggle more than normal at the moment. As well as working at home you may be trying to look after your children at the same time. To me there is comfort in routine I know what is coming and what to expect.

 

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

There is a quote I came across while looking into remote working “When working from home it is easy to work 16 hours days does not mean that you have too”. When you work is easily accessible you are likely to work more whether you mean to or not. This is nothing new checking work email on phones  has raised this question for the last few years. When remote working try to ensure you are still getting a work life balance. If you can get out for a walk each day, take that trip to the shops or relax watching a dvd. If you were in the office you would be working 9-5 so that should not change that much when working from home. This currently crisis is likely to see us into April and possible May burning the candle at both ends is ok for a week or two but not when you are talking months. In earlier articles I have spoken about sleep and its importance to people with dyspraxia. This may be more important now more then ever.

 

SOCIAL

Some Dyspraxic people may not be the most social people to start with the restrictions brought on by Covid 19 can still have an effect here. As it stands the only people I am talking to face to face are my parents and whom ever serves me in the shop. This is falling form a case where I was in an office with 100 people and travelling on a bus everyday, also have a weekly parkrun and toastmasters twice a month.

Luckily technology have moved on since prior pandemics such as TB in the 50’s and the Spanish flu of the early 20th century. Use this technology as much as you can to bridge the gap. Have video’s call using WhatsApp, Facetime Skype and Zoom to name a few. It may not be the perfect solution but it will work as a good stop gap. If you wish to see people face to face think of inventive ways to do this and keep your social distance. I have seen on YouTube and twitter of children meeting their grandparents but having the patio door between then to prevent infection. While this aspect is not only for  Dyspraxics, the state of remote report 2020 from buff.com 20% of respondents quotes loneliness as the biggest struggle of working remotely.

 

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental Health is an important part of everyone’s lives and rather then being a separate topic is it something that flows though all of the area’s mentioned above. While the restrictions in place it is also something that we need to keep an eye on at the moment. People with learning difficulties tend to have mental health issues as well for a number or reasons. By following some of the ideas above will help to ensure these issues do not increase during the current pandemic. One thing I have also found is the value of having the one friend who you can talk to that will always listen and in a non judgemental way.

It is not all bad there are some positives to the remote working

 

CASUAL DRESS

In most cases we are not taking Barney Stinson advice and suiting up when working from home. People with dyspraxia can have issues with fabric sensitivity. if the office you work in has certain dress code this may be an issue. Working from home allows us to dress down. This means we can wear clothes where the sensitivity is not there or less of an issue. This is within reason particularly if you are on videos call during the day.

 

PERSONAL SPACE

For me commuting is not only about getting to and from work but my personal space being invaded twice a day on packed buses and Luas. When working from home I have no commute therefore no attack on my personal space. You are generally basing yourself in one room in a house assuming family members leave you alone you can have a lot of personal space when working from home

Noise. I for one have issues when it comes to noise in the office. For one it makes it hard to concentrate and the other it will distract me. When working from home you are able to control the noise a little more makes it easier to concentrate when trying to do your work and to be more productive.

 

Remote working is not ideal and to some if it lasts to long items like motivation and productivity may fall but it is a time to show we can adapt to different situations whether we are Dyspraxic or not.

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Philip Slattery
Philip is a tax consultant from Kildare, Ireland. He was diagnosed aged 12. It confirmed his mother's thoughts that he had a learning difficulty. When not working he is an avid Toastmaster and runner. He has a 5k personal best of 19mins 20 secs.
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