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Health and wellbeing: Working in isolation

Health and wellbeing: Working in isolation

By Peter Docherty

Health Wellbeing 


For teams working remotely it is critical to maintain a structure for regular communication and engagement.

LIV Support Services

The LIV remains open for business via a virtual office and is here to support you.

Converge 1300 687 327
COVID-19 Hub – Access to information and resources to assist you to respond to COVID-19 –
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HR Advice Line – 03 9607 9548
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As the impact of COVID-19 hits the legal profession and the wider community we need to consider emerging issues that may impact your teams. Social isolation has been a challenge facing sole practitioners for decades, but as we embrace technology and reduce the traditional face to face interactions with our peers we need to be mindful of how this can impact wellbeing.  

News on TV, radio and social channels is causing a heightened level of anxiety and fear. This has resulted in emotional rather than rational behaviour in supermarkets. This often starts with confusion and fear of the unknown.  We need to protect our own personal wellbeing and manage the fear of isolation. Here are some steps to consider:

Technology as an enabler to stay connected

Many of us already use technology to stay connected with family and friends. Live streaming through technology like WhatsApp, Zoom and Facetime allows us to share live experiences through verbal and visual communication. Visual communication enables you to monitor body language and build trust, which is influenced by both your verbal and non-verbal alignment.  

Timely communication

It's not only an important risk management strategy, at times of uncertainty it helps to manage anxiety and avoid feelings of social isolation. For teams working remotely it is critical to maintain a structure for regular communication and engagement. The LIV has published guidance to assist firms with flexible working and tips on meetings.

Access factual information 

Make sure your news comes from reliable sources such as VicHealth or the WHO. Use your professional acumen to analyse information and share key information with your staff and networks.

Take control of your body 

Recognise that COVID-19 will intensify anxiety. Understand the impact it may have on health and mental wellbeing. Understand how it can be impacted in a time of crisis. Avoid stress eating and drinking. Listen to the experts and maintain personal hygiene, exercise and make it fun, do it with friends virtually or take a class from YouTube. A good laugh helps relieve physical tension and stress. 

Support others

During a time of crisis look after the wellbeing of others who may feel isolated. Put a routine in place to keep in touch. Use the R U OK? resources.

Set a routine and daily goals

Daily routines help structure your days and preserve a sense of order and predictability, even in times of societal uncertainty. You will benefit from a daily schedule that includes exercise, social connection, self-development, healthy eating and sufficient sleep.

Be inspired in your isolation

Listen to podcasts and TED Talks, supercharge your mind and get the next year of CPD out of the way. It’s amazing how a sense of achievement can impact your wellbeing. ■

Peter Docherty is head of LIV Professional Standards and Quality Assurance.

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