Many people are now working at home according to government guidance. In some ways this has brought positive benefits such as no commuting and more time for family and friends and the things we enjoy. There are challenges, however. Some people are feeling isolated from colleagues, missing their usual routine and working longer days as our home and work lives start to merge.
It’s important we recognise that remote working can affect our mental health and take steps to look after our mental and physical wellbeing.
It can take time to set boundaries and find a new way of working. We’ve got some tips to help you stay well while working remotely or from home.
Set up a healthy workspace
- Set up your workspace to help you have a relaxed and supported posture when sitting.
- Keep your workspace tidy and clutter free and make sure you’ve got the right equipment such as a laptop riser.
- Try to change your working posture regularly and vary your tasks throughout the day.
- Work in a well-lit area with natural light, if you can, and make sure your screen doesn’t have any glare.
- Make sure you’ve got enough space to move, stretch and fidget.
Find a routine that works for you
- Try out a daily ‘commute’. Give yourself time at the start and end of your working day to add a boundary between your work and personal life. Try creating a new morning routine with time to eat a healthy breakfast, exercise or spend some time outside. What helps you have a positive start to your day?
- Get up and get dressed before you start your day. It will put you in the right mindset for work.
- Find a new working pattern that works for you, building in time for breaks, exercise, family and friends. Know which times of the day are your most productive.
- Pack up your equipment and clear your papers away at ‘home time’.
- If possible try to have areas in your home that are just for work and separate from your main living areas like the kitchen or living room.
Set some boundaries
- Set clear priorities and work with your team to create short, medium and long term goals.
- Try to separate your working and home life – don’t keep working just because you don’t have to leave the office to get home and don’t be tempting to keep looking at your emails outside of working hours.
- Try to limit video meetings to four per day and schedule in quiet time when you can focus on routine tasks and work projects without interruption. This can help to maintain energy levels – many people find taking part in constant video meetings can be tiring and raise anxiety.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by email or online messages. Set times each day to reply to emails in batches and take time out from platforms like Slack or Teams if you need to.
Take your breaks
- Build in some frequent short breaks into your working day to get up and stretch.
- Try to take your breaks or lunch away from your desk, screens and digital devices. Spend some time outside, perhaps have a walk in the garden or a green space if you can.
- Get up regularly to make a drink or get a glass of water. Try to drink six to eight glasses of water a day and limit caffeinated drinks. Aim to drink no more than two cups of coffee (fresh coffee is higher in caffeine) or four cups of tea a day.
Look after your body
- Try setting reminders to get up and move more. Using a pedometer can help you to keep a track of the number of steps you take each day.
- Take time each day to do some light exercises whilst working. Have a stretch and shake out any tension. Schedule in a time to go for a quick walk or an online lunchtime yoga session.
- Eat tasty, healthy and simple snacks to keep your energy going – maybe nuts, a piece of fruit or a yogurt. Working from home can actually make it easier to eat healthy, try to plan ahead to eat some nutritious food. Put a note in your diary or set an alarm to remind you.
- If you choose to work during the evening make sure to use dark mode on your devices and have a digital detox from screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Stick a copy of our ‘Daily self-care to boost your wellbeing’ resource on your fridge as a daily reminder.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Create a sleep routine and try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Download our ‘How to have a good night’s sleep’ sheet to get some helpful tips.
- Keep in touch with colleagues in a variety of ways. Try to have a mixture of video calls, instant messaging, emails and phone calls throughout the week.
- Plan a virtual catch-up with colleagues. Schedule a weekly catch-up and try to stick to a regular time.
- Give social catch-ups a go, where you don’t talk about work and take time to chat like you would if you were in the office.
Take time to relax
- Don’t spend all day inside and try to get some fresh air. Take a quick walk outside, open your window or sit outside for a while.
- Reclaim the time you’ve gained by not commuting and use it to do something you love.
- Make time for you. Switch off your work phone and laptop at the end of the day – it’s important to have time to recharge!
- Try relaxation techniques and mindfulness to help your body and mind unwind. Find what works for you. Our ‘Relaxation tools to help you stay calmer’ resource has some helpful techniques that you can try right now.
Stay up-to-date with wellbeing information
- Keep up-to-date with wellbeing information and initiatives that your employer is sharing. Check on your work intranet or ask your manager.
- Explore more ways to stay well on the MindWell website.
Tools and apps
Mind: Wellness action Plan – Working from home: a WAP is a personalised, practical tool we can all use to help us identify what keeps us well at work and what support we would like to receive from our manager to boost our wellbeing.