We are being encouraged to work from home where possible, however, working from home shouldn't be a barrier to leading a healthy lifestyle and it's more important than ever to make sure we are doing all we can to look after our mental and physical health.
On these pages, information and advice is provided for both employers and employees, to help workplaces stay healthy, happy and productive, as we adjust to the changes currently being experienced.
- Set an alarm - you may have a bit more time in the mornings without your daily commute, but getting up at the same time each morning will help you to maintain your routine as well as ensure you get a good nights sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Get dressed - You might not need to wear your usual office attire, but it is important to make sure that you shower and get dressed, as if you were going into work as normal, to put you in the right mindset.
- Set up your workspace - Consider where the best place to set up your workspace will be. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate your workspace from your living space, especially when there is a number of you in your household.
- Make sure your workspace is set up so that you are sat correctly and avoid any unnecessary muscle strain. Click here to learn how to sit at your desk correctly in a way that helps your posture.
- Stick to your normal working hours - when your office is also your home, it can be hard to switch off at the end of the day. By starting and finishing your day at the usual time, as well as setting aside time for a lunch break, you will stay more focused and motivated.
- Stay on task – it can be harder to manage your time when you are not in your usual routine. Start each week or day by planning your tasks and what you hope to achieve.
- Avoid distractions – try to avoid having the TV on in the background or browsing social media. Housework can also become more appealing when you're working from home, try to designate time to do other jobs outside of your working day.
Remember to stay active, eat well, and look after your mental health during this challenging time. Click on the boxes below for more information.
Getting and Staying Active
There are some little changes you can make to increase your activity during your working day. Remember, every minute counts!
Use either the morning, lunchtime or evening to break up your working day and incorporate activity and fresh air. Make sure to maintain social distancing measures at all times.
However, there is lots you can do within the comfort of your own home too:
- Take regular breaks from your computer. Set reminders on your calendar to encourage you to stand and move every 30-60 minutes.
- Stand or pace whilst answering the telephone.
- Use what you've got - for example, the stairs are a great way to be active. If you can, use a bathroom that isn't on the same floor as your workspace!
- Organise time to do some virtual activity with your colleagues – could you take in turns to lead a 10 minute workout over a video call?
- Do some Deskercise! A few aerobic and strength exercises, as well as regular stretching, can wake up your muscles, increase your heart rate a little, and even burn a few calories.
- Log your activity using your Activity Tracker. We can even set up challenges for you and your colleagues to allow you to compete against each other virtually. Enquire for more information!
- Take a look at our Active At Home pages for more tips on how to incorporate physical activity into your day.
- Join the Movement is a brand-new campaign from Sport England, funded by The National Lottery, giving you the advice and tools you need to help you do this while the country deals with the coronavirus outbreak.
Continuing to eat a balanced diet, even though our normal routines have changed, can help with our physical and mental health. Cooking can also be a good activity to unwind from a days work and to take your mind of things that might be making you feel stressed.
Eating well can give you the energy you need to maintain good levels of productivity throughout the day. Having a poor diet can make you less alert and motivated.
Here we give you some top tips for eating well whilst working from home.
- Have a filling breakfast – this will make you less likely to snack during the morning. It will make you more productive too!
- Snack healthy - when working from home you can be more tempted to snack more. Make sure you have some healthy options available. Healthy snacks that release their energy slowly can make you feel less hungry and stop you heading for the crisps and chocolate! Think fruit, cereal bars low in sugar, yoghurt etc.
- Set aside time for your lunch break and try to move away from your workspace.
- Meal prep - you could try preparing healthy meals for the week ahead at the weekend or in the evenings that can be stored in the fridge or freezer, meaning you always have a healthy and filling option available if you want something quick and easy.
- Stay hydrated - staying properly hydrated improves your concentration and helps you stay on task. Keep a water bottle on your desk to make sure you're drinking plenty.
Looking After Your Mental Health
It has never been more important to look after our mental health. The unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in can leave us feeling isolated and low. We will need to adapt how we interact with others, and how we look after ourselves. It will take some time to find new ways to relax and cope with the ever-changing situation.
Trying to maintain a positive outlook in challenging times can help. We've pulled together some of the best tips for looking after your mental health, particularly whilst working from home:
- Stay connected - call colleagues or use video chat instead of emailing.
- Stay social - remember you can still have social interactions with your colleagues like you would if you were in the office. Schedule time to have a catch-up on things that are non-work-related or set aside time to organise a social activity e.g. quizzes or coffee morning.
- Be mindful - do something mindful on your lunchbreak or take short breaks throughout the day – activities such as craft, colouring, or reading, can take your mind off work and refresh your thoughts ready to start again. Mindfulness apps such as Headspace can help to relax your breathing and muscles.
- Be comfortable - make your workspace environment comfortable. Keep your desk tidy, and surround yourself with things that brighten up your work area e.g. a house plant. Try to position yourself in a room with natural light.
- Let someone know that you are struggling - share your problems/worries with someone else, a problem shared is a problem halved. Make sure you are talking to the people around you, they might be able to relieve some of your worries.
- Switch off - avoid taking phone calls or checking emails outside of office hours. This is even more important when your home is also your workspace. Try your best to switch off.
- Look ahead - whilst we might not be able to do quite so much during this difficult time, it is important to look ahead to the evenings and weekend when you can make time for yourself. That might be reading a good book, or getting outside in the garden, but give yourself something to look forward to.
Support for Key Workers
We know that not everyone is able to work from home at the current time. Hundreds of thousands of key workers in healthcare, education, emergency services, supermarkets, postal and delivery services, and many more are working tirelessly to provide the essential services that our country needs.
Your wellbeing and mental health is massively important at this time. Here are some useful links which may provide some support should you need it: