Prior to the pandemic, working from home was far from the norm, with only around 4.7% of the UK workforce working remotely in 2019. Since the start of the pandemic, that number has significantly increased as the impact of COVID-19 has triggered a permanent shift in the way many of us work.
Whilst the flexibility of remote working has its benefits, some have found the change difficult to adjust to and their mental health has suffered as a result. In this article, we’ll look at some tips for looking after your wellbeing while working from home.
1 Separate home life from your work life
One of the most important steps you should take when working remotely is to set boundaries between your home life and your work life. You can do this by establishing routines, adhere to break times and separate physical space. This may be challenging, especially if you are limited on space, but separating the two, both mentally and physically, can strike a positive work life balance.
2 Have a structured morning routine
However tempting it is to stay in your pyjamas until your first video call of the day, having a clear structure to your morning prior to starting work is helpful. Think about how you would normally approach your morning before commuting to the office and establish a similar routine. If working from home has gifted you some extra time which would normally be spent commuting, why not use that extra time to have a good breakfast, do some gentle exercise or prepare a healthy lunch for later.
3 Take regular breaks from your workspace
Taking regular breaks at set times is just as important when working from home as it would be in an office environment. Breaks are the perfect opportunity to step away from your computer and recharge. If possible, avoid cramming in housework during your breaks. Instead, spend time doing something you enjoy - reading a book, doing yoga, taking a walk in the fresh air or listening to music.
4 Stay active while working from home
Moving around and staying active is important whether you’re at home or in an office. If you are sat in front of a computer for eight hours a day, not only will this have a detrimental effect on your posture and general health, but your productivity will suffer as a result too. One of advantages of working from home is that you can move around and stretch freely without worrying about disturbing your colleagues. You might also consider working while standing up as this could be a good way to keep lethargy and back pain at bay.
5 Have regular catch ups with your team
Working from home can make you feel isolated at times. In and out of work, human interaction is important so maintaining regular communication and check-ins with your team is important. Whether it’s a formal conference call, social event or a virtual ‘water cooler’ moment with colleagues, maintaining a bond via video calls can boost engagement, motivation and help you feel more valued and involved.
6 End your workday with a routine
Just like you should start your day with a routine, creating a structure to the end of your working day is equally as important. Stick to your core hours as often as possible and set up a routine for ending your workday such as writing a ‘to-do’ list for the following day or having a final call with your line manager or colleagues. After finishing work, try to do something to switch off such cooking your favourite food, catching up with a friend or spending tome on your hobbies.
If you feel your mental health has been impacted because of working from home, you should reach out to your manager or speak to your colleagues and explain how you feel. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone from work, talk to a friend or family member. For further guidance and top tips, take a look at our article How to support your mental health when working from home. You may also find the article Looking after your mental health in Winter useful.
For urgent mental health support, contact your nearest local NHS mental health helpline.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.