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Effects of working from home on our wellbeing

Our brain doesn’t like uncertainty – if you feel stressed, it’s not just you. You can be assured that it’s completely normal if you’re feeling stressed and unsettled due to Covid and restrictions.

  • Can feel more intense than working in the office with ‘work and play’ overlapping in the same physical space
  • Can be stressful and feel isolating
  • Can lead to a low self-worth if feel like failing or not adapting to WFH effectively
  • Additionally, there’s lots of anxiety around health and keeping safe at this time which also have an impact

A note about stress:

Our brain doesn’t like uncertainty – if you feel stressed, it’s not just you. You can be assured that it’s completely normal if you’re feeling stressed and unsettled due to Covid and restrictions.

However, as the current situation continues, we do need to be aware that stress can cause mental health difficulties (especially if stress is prolonged/intense) and can impact on existing mental health difficulties too.

The practical actions you could take relate to two things; one, setting a good routine and two, using separation activities to differentiate your work and home life.

– Our brains like routine so try to find one that works for you

– Separation activities are activities that tell your brain that it’s time to work or time to relax

– differentiating home and work is important whilst WFH. Could be a way to reduce the intensity of WFH and allow us to relax after our working day is complete

Get Moving:

– Something that’s could help us to set a good routine, and could be used as a separation activity is exercise

– Doesn’t have to be strenuous – just something to get moving/release endorphins

– Moving around during the day could also help you to avoid screen fatigue.

Working Space:

– Managing this effectively could be really useful for separating your work and home life and keeping well:

– Don’t work from your bed – when WFH, it’s more important than ever to keep a space in your home that is purely for relaxation/sleep

– Have a dedicated room to work in.

– Having a designated room to work in may not be accessible for all of us, for example if you live in a one bedroom flat or there are multiple people working from home at one time. If this is the case, maybe try to create just a corner of a room that allocated to working or find your own way to differentiate your working space between work and home.

– Alternatively, you may prefer to actually move around during the day – e.g. stand in the kitchen to send emails, walk around house to make phone calls and sit at the desk to write a report etc. Try different ways of working and see what suits you.

– Make sure you are able to work comfortably – talk to your manager or HR if there are barriers to this

– At the end of the day, hide your work items in a designated place. Helps us to switch off after work.

Switch Off:

– Switch off your work phone/laptop when you’re not working. Your brain will need a break in order to be more effective the next day. Know when to switch off and really try and stick to this.

– For some of us, it won’t be as simple as working 9am-5pm, for example for those with children

– the important point is to schedule some time in for yourself during the day, whether that’s when you first wake up, or in the evenings

– When WFH it can also be tempting to skip lunch/breaks throughout the day. When we take a break, it’ll help us to feel and stay more energised.

– With many of us not commuting, we can use this as extra time to do what we want to do, rather than extra time to be working.

– If you feel guilty about doing any of this, remember we have a right as workers to be happy and healthy at work. We are allowed to switch off. It will improve our wellbeing and, thus, improve our productivity.

Stay Connected:

Connecting is really good for our mental health because:

– It gives us a sense of belonging and feeling of being valued/accepted

– Having a network of people to turn to if we are experiencing difficult times helps us move forward from negative experiences with more ease.

– Keep in touch with your colleagues

– Have non-work conversations with your colleagues – just like you would when you’d pop your head over the desk in the office

– Getting to know our colleagues better allows us to better notice if they’re acting differently and might be struggling and gives us the opportunity to provide support where we can.

Proactivity embedding some of these habits and some of these separation activities into your day-to-day routine will enhance your ability to adapt to change and will help to promote positive wellbeing

– If you are struggling, talk to a friend, your Line Manager, colleague, or call Oxfordshire Mind’s Information Line (01865 24 77 88/info@oxfordshiremind.org.uk) to find out what support is available to you.

– The chances are, you won’t be the only one that feels like this, although it may feel that way. You have a right to be happy at work and it you are not feeling like that, tell someone how you are feeling.

– Remember, these are not ‘normal’ times so it may not be possible to apply our ‘normal’ work practice or output – so remember to take it easy on yourselves if it all goes out of the window.

We have a range of online training available at the moment – from one-hour 5WTW workshops to our more time-intensive Mental Health First Aid.

In celebration of WMHD coming up, we’re offering 10% our 5WTW online workshops throughout October. Could be a great addition to your virtual team away day, or a relevant team building activity.

There’s lots of information on our website and social media, or feel free to get in touch with us to find out more:

www.oxfordshiremind.org.uk/training/online-training-courses/

trainingenquiries@oxfordshiremind.org.uk07593 382407

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