What is your backstory? What do you do for a living?
I am a fine art wedding photographer based in the UK. Wedding photography had been a side hustle of mine from 2011 until 2016. After a battle with my mental health I decided to leave the corporate world behind. I decided I would turn my side hustle into a full time business, so I closed my eyes and jumped!
How did you start your remote work journey?
I had always worked from home, so for me there was really very little impact in terms of my day to day working environment. In terms of the admin side of things I love that I can do it wherever I choose, but I like working from home.
What have you learned working from home?
To be strict and disciplined with myself. You have to treat it like any other job, getting up, getting dressed, taking a lunch break and finishing at a reasonable time. It is a CONSTANT struggle to not be tempted by netflix, but I am proud to say I am usually quite good at getting the work done.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every part of the economy and our daily lives. What challenges have you encountered both personally and professionally? How have you weathered these challenges?
Well the professional impact is that by the end of 2020, I will have only photographed 4 out of 25 weddings I had booked for this year. That's the stark reality and this in turn impacts almost every other area of my life. In terms of weathering the challenges, it all comes down to mindset.
As soon as the PM made the announcement regarding lockdown, I decided I would make the most of this year and treat this as a gift. I had been given an abundance of time so I was going to make sure I didn't waste it. I am really pleased to say that I have achieved so much this year from a complete rebrand to just being named Best Wedding Photographer 2020 at the British Wedding Awards.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased sense of fear, depression, and isolation. How have you been able to get through pandemic-related anxiety and stress issues?
As I said before, mindset is everything. I have had battles with my mental health and at one point it was a desperate fight, but I got through it. At the very start of this year I had a slight dip and so I did a lot of work with coaches and intuitive healers to get to the root of these issues. I think doing this work and constantly doing it has meant I haven't experienced any of these feelings. I think it all has to do with how you approach it. I haven't felt anxiety or stress during the pandemic because I was focussed on my work and using the time to improve myself. I think if I had sat and dwelled on the situation then perhaps I would have had these feelings, but I choose not to.
What are your best mental health tips?
Connect and stay connected with people you enjoy talking to
Exercise or at least get out of the house regularly - Fresh air has an amazingly positive effect on you.
Replace negative habits with positive ones and create healthy routines. I am talking about really simple, everyday things. Get up, make your bed, have a hot shower (or a cold one) do at least one positive or proactive thing each day.
Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. - Everyone is suddenly an expert on government, politics, pandemics, epidemiology and who is to blame. I know people need to vent, but we can limit what we listen to or absorb. The same goes for the news! Be the guardian of your own mind.
Before the pandemic hit, you may have worked in an office or corporate setting, but what do you foresee happening now? How do you see companies allowing employees to work?
I think the pandemic could have a really positive effect on the way we work and the environment. Just think, if we didn't have to commute to the city and didn't have to work in huge buildings that require significant amounts of power, heat, water etc then that would surely reduce the carbon footprint.
Also I think we have proven that we can work from home, that we can be just as productive. It's a win for everyone I think.
Do you believe that remote work is the future?
It is definitely the future. Once companies see how much money they can save and see how they are not losing any productivity they will be on board. I think productivity and peoples mental health will improve, there is nothing worse than a commuter train! The thought of doing that everyday is too much for me.
How do you think COVID will shape the future of business?
I think it will make us more cautious and take less for granted.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring remote workers/digital nomad/entrepreneurs?
Work hard, work smart, look after your mental health
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