Top tips for working from home

This Mental Health Awareness Week, please remember to look after your mental wellbeing. It’s really important to take care of your mind, especially as most of us are spending more time at home because of coronavirus.

Working from home can be great, but if you’re not used to working remotely or you’re an extrovert at heart, then being away from the normal set up at the office can feel difficult to adjust to.

We’ve all been working from home for several weeks now, so we’ve compiled our top tips to help ensure you stay productive and take care of yourself while you’re at home.

Set a daily routine

Without steady schedules, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred and be stressful to get right.

During lockdown, try to follow your normal sleep and work patterns where you can, and stay consistent. It’s also important to start your day well – the prospect of working in your pyjamas might be appealing but ensuring to wash and get dressed each day will improve your state of mind and prepare you for work.

Make a dedicated workspace

When we live and work in the same space, it can create anxiety and stop us being able to focus.

If you can, find a quiet space away from other people and distractions like the TV (or the kitchen, when you feel like snacking).

Get everything you need in one place, before you start work – chargers, pens, paper and anything else – and shut the door if you can. Even in a small or shared space, try to designate an area as your workspace.

Look after your body and give yourself a break

Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse.

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol.

Making time for breaks is important to help manage feelings of stress – try to take lunch and regular screen breaks. Give yourself time to concentrate on something else so you feel more focused when you return. Even just 5 to 10 minutes of short breaks each hour can really help your productivity too.

Working from home means you might be spending a lot more time without moving your body. If you’re feeling stiff or tense, try doing some light stretching or exercise with some 10-minute home workout videos.

Stay connected

Feeling isolated is normal right now. But there are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter – boosting their mental wellbeing as well as our own.

In and out of work, human interaction matters. Schedule video calls and pick up the phone instead of emailing. If you’re struggling with working at home then speak to your colleagues or manager about your concerns. Remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you! Ask how they’re doing and whether there are ways you can support each other.

Talk about your worries

It’s normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too.

If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are free helplines you can access on our health and wellbeing support page you can try instead.

Don’t stay glued to the news

Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone.

You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day.

Use trustworthy sources – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information from the news, social media or other people.

We do understand we are all different, so one person’s remote-working paradise, might not be yours. If you’ve got any other tips that are working for you, please let us know – we’d love to hear your working from home experiences!

With Every Mind Matters you can also get your free mind plan with tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control.

Don’t forget, there’s plenty of other support services and resources you can access on our health and wellbeing support page on AskHUE. Remember to be kind to your mind this Mental Health Awareness Week.

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