Working from Home

Physical Activity matters during this period and, actually, we think it's more important than ever right now.
Being active in a way that is right for you, can improve your physical health, help manage stress and anxiety and just generally make you feel better.
You can also still go outside for a walk, run, cycle - or any other way you normally get active outside - provided you are doing so in a way that meets the latest guidance on social distancing and advice on unnecessary social contact.



Working from Home

Thousands of people are likely to be working from home. For others, it's just like any other week. So if you're not self-isolating, but have been told to work remotely, what's the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?

Home Working Guidance developed by APOCHE

Create a Daily Routine

  • Where possible have a clear start and end time otherwise you may feel like you are working 24/7 · Put your laptop away when not working
  • Have structured time for family
  • Keep boundaries between your work and home life
  • Keep to your existing routine - get up on time, get dressed, eat breakfast, anything you would usually do
  • Be careful not to lose sight of your work tasks and focus
  • If possible, choose a specific room or environment as your workspace and stick to this for most of your work
  • Remember to schedule a time for breaks. Little and often is ideal – break before the onset of discomfort to keep your body protected from posture related problems. Use your phone, smart watch or calendar to set reminders for frequent breaks
  • Wind down at the end of your workday. Taking time to ‘decompress' is instrumental for stress relief. Reading, meditating, exercise?

Do what it takes to work for you Look after Your Body – ‘Move it'

  • ‘Your best posture is your next posture' Fidget, stretch, stand up to take phone calls, move around, sit to stand 10 times every hour. Movement is the key to reducing postural aches and pains. If your day allows, leave the house and go outdoors.
  • Exercise naturally boosts endorphins, which increases happiness, enjoyment, and interest levels - all of which are important for mental and physical health and productivity

Set up your workstation as best you can

Don't worry if you cannot set your workstation in the same way as you do in the office. Most aches will be temporary so to listen to your body – it will tell you when it is time to move. The following tips may help:

  • Use books to raise your laptop when working with additional mouse and keyboard
  • Sit on cushions if needed to raise up your height
  • Try using a box or piece of wood as a footrest, if needed
  • Add a rolled-up towel or small cushion behind your back
  • Increase the ‘screen view size' on your laptop, i.e. over 100%

Look after Your Body: Sleep

Achieving quality sleep is extremely important for physical/mental health and well-being, especially during difficult times:

  • Get up at the same time each day (bedtime is then dictated by your level of tiredness)
  • Avoid phones, tablets and computers for at least one hour before sleep
  • Exercise outside each day
  • Keep bedroom well ventilated and do not over-heat at night

Look after Your Body: Eat and Drink Healthily

  • Although you have full access to the kitchen, try to avoid high sugar snacks. You have more time to prepare a proper healthy meal or snack and make sure you drink enough fluids. Getting up to prepare a hot drink is also a good moment for exercise

Be aware of impact on your Mental Well-Being

  • Stay social –regular communications over telephone or networking sites such as MS Teams, Zoom, Skype helps to alleviate feelings of isolation. Use of video conferencing really supports human interactivity and should be encouraged. Managers should be encouraged to set up regular team communications, ideally at a set time each day, to encourage personal interaction and support
  • BUT don't spend all your time checking your phone, watching, reading or listening to news for updates. That just generates anxiety and worry. Try to limit yourself to seeking updates at planned times, once or twice a day
  • Stay on top of any difficult feelings. It is quite normal to feel anxious during a crisis when your life has been turned upside down. Focus on any positive outcomes and talk to trusted family and friends about your feelings
  • Allow yourself breaks and make sure to give yourself ‘rewards' after working hard
  • Take time to unwind – do whatever helps you to ‘chill out' and relax If you find you have more time than usual, use it for things you find meaningful. Maybe read that book or watch a film you wanted to get into
  • Support your colleagues – in particular, consider calling your extrovert colleagues more often as they may feel particularly lonely
  • Have some background noise - Studies have shown that listening to soft, classical music or having the radio on whilst you work can help improve focus Seek help when needed. If you are struggling with either your physical or mental health ensure you reach out for professional help. You may wish to discuss this with your line manager.

Links for Mental Health Support

Anxiety UK

Blurt it Out

Calm Harm

Every Mind Matters

Living Life to the Full

Mood Gym

NHS Mental Health Apps

OCD UK

World Health Organization

How to set up your workstation

5 ways to combat emotional resilience to workplace stress

“Stress is a widespread issue in many workplaces. Stress affects us all differently, and is dependent upon (a) the causes of workplace stress and (b) our levels of emotional resilience (our ability to cope with stressful situations).

Here we explore 5 ways you can begin to enhance your emotional resilience to workplace stress.

1. Focus on the things you can change: The only thing in life that you can directly control is yourself and your decisions. Focus your valuable energy on the things you can change, and remember energy used upon things we cannot change is wasted energy. If you are unable to change the situation you are in, the best thing you can do for yourself is to change the way that you respond to it.

2. Remember who you are and what is important to you: Our values are the things that are really important to us; the things that help make our life meaningful. Values are who we want to be and what we want our lives to be about. Spend some time reconnecting with your work and life values. To identify your values, you can ask yourself; What are the things that I care about? What do I want for my life? Once you have established your values, try to bring your daily activities in line with your values, working through any barriers with problem solving.

3. Understand the way that you think: Just because we think something, it doesn't make it true. Our thoughts are just our thoughts. It is easy to get into poor habits of thinking; jumping to conclusions, catastrophising (“everything is going to go wrong"), thinking we can read minds, focusing on the negatives, feeling responsible for everything that happens. But these are just thinking styles, they are not reality. Learn to recognise the automatic thoughts that enter into your mind and learn to let them go, you don't have to buy into everything you think.

4. Learn to relax: Find time to space out for a short period of time to quickly reduce anxiety. A brief time out is worthwhile when under stress, as you will return more focused and productive to the task in hand. When you are noticing signs of stress try visualising for 5 minutes a peaceful place, somewhere you have previously been in your life, like your favourite holiday for example. Whilst visualising your peaceful place notice what you can; see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Using our senses in visualisations enhances the vividness of the image, aiding relaxation. This brief escape to your peaceful place allows your mind to drift away for a short break, to reduce stress and anxiety, before returning more calmly to the present moment.

5. Forget multitasking: Multitasking was once regarded as a great way to maximise time and get more done in a working day. However, such is a disillusion, having a phone to your ear whilst writing a report actually slows the speed and lowers the quality of work undertaken. In the moment splitting focus can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and confusion. Instead, try mindfully focusing on one task at a time, improving the speed and quality of your work. It's important to be aware of the way your mind and body works, as it's crucial to helping us recognise the signs when things aren't right (and remember, some stress is completely healthy). While these 5 tips are examples of what some people use to better cope with workplace stress, it may be that other techniques work better for you. Whatever they are, do practice them whenever you feel the pressure, and your emotional resilience will be enhanced over time, helping you to manage it more effectively."