Working from home: what about wellbeing from home?
What is workplace wellbeing?
Many different things contribute towards mental health and wellbeing at work; Employee Involvement, Work-life Balance, Being Safe at Work, Recognition and Growth & Development.
All these are really important when you are in your place of work. So why should that differ when you’re working from home?
Who should take responsibility for wellbeing when working? Typically, HR, Health and Safety roles and line managers would be tasked with this duty. However, when you are working from home, no one is there to oversee you, apart from you! By making yourself accountable for your own workplace wellbeing practices, you will start to see the benefits.
In the climate that we find ourselves in now, the situation with COVID-19 has resulted in the WHO (World Health Organisation) and governments worldwide recommending businesses implement remote working for their staff. For some, this isn’t anything out of the norm and many will embrace this new way of working. For others, it may cause difficulties and struggles.
We’ve outlined various tips and recommendations to help ease the transition and ensure wellbeing is supported no matter where you work from.
Workplace wellbeing whilst at home – How to?
Wellbeing is broad and can cover many different topics. In this section, we’ll talk you through the different areas in which your wellbeing can be affected while working from home. And what you can do to make positive impacts on your workplace wellbeing!
Mind – Take time to get to know your own mental health
Everyone has mental health, and it comes in many different forms. The WHO defines wellbeing and mental health as “fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life”, and so it would be a smart move to look after our mental health from day-to-day. Taking time to get to know your own mental health is important. Learning what might trigger anxiety or stress can help you avoid instances which might be harmful or detrimental to your mental health.
Body – Exercise improves your physical and mental wellbeing
Physical exercise is just as important as mental when it comes to wellbeing. Exercise can come in all forms, whether it’s a walk outside to get some fresh air, a quick high-intensity workout video on YouTube, or a half-hour yoga session at lunch. Exercise not only will help with your physical health but will benefit you psychologically too. In a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine of just under 20,000 participants, findings demonstrated “strong associations between physical activity and reduced odds of psychological distress”. Showing the benefits of keeping active during your working week!
Routine – Schedule reminders to take a break and create a routine
Set times to take breaks, have lunch, and to finish the workday. When in an office, we are constantly faced with distractions which break up our day. However, when working from home it’s easy to forget to take a minute. It’s important to schedule reminders to step away from your desk for a break when working from home.
Support – Virtually recreate the social element of office working
Find a support network who you can reach out to when you are feeling stressed. This could be anyone from friends, to colleagues or family members. Remember when you work in an office, it’s easy to find someone who you can chat or offload to! The social element of keeping in contact with people is beneficial for wellbeing, as well as battling any loneliness you might feel.
Environment – Designate a place to work
When working from home the lines between work and home life can become blurred, setting up a designated place to work is one simple way to avoid this! For those lucky enough to have separate a room to designate to work, fantastic. However, it may be something as simple as having set zones in a room for work! Avoid working from areas of your house which you would commonly use to relax however tempting this may be.
The WHO, in their Healthy Workplace Framework and Model publication, cited a study on genders within the workplace which showed “an imbalance between work and family life was the strongest factor associated with mental disorders for both genders”, demonstrating the importance of un-blurring those lines between work and home!
Sleep – Aim to keep work out of the bedroom
Setting boundaries for work can have a positive impact on your sleep as well. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard evaluated the ways in which an individual can improve their sleep, stating “Keeping computers, TVs and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep”, you could also make the assumption that by having a designated area for your work hours is creating a mental association for this space, and will, in turn, could boost productivity.
Are you getting the recommended hours of sleep per night? The NHS recommends that most adults need between 6-9 hours a night, and also runs through various ways in which you can relax & wind down before bed – here!
Why is sleep so important? In the “Sleep Matters: the Impact of Sleep on Health and Wellbeing” research, published in May 2011, they found that “people who have slept poorly are likely to suffer from fatigue, sleepiness during daytime, poor concentration, irritability, memory loss, depression, frustration, and a weakened immune system”… none of which will help you be productive during your workday!
Relax – Create some time for yourself
Everyone is different and it’s important to work out how you personally wind down. Perhaps reading a book, meditation, cooking or just simply getting some fresh air. Taking time for yourself after the workday will help define those lines between home life and work life.
Get dressed – Dress smart and think outside the box
As tempting as it is to stay in your PJs, getting dressed will kick start your productivity first thing. Trick your brain into thinking that you’re still going into your workplace office! Why not try and follow your normal morning routine, and go out for a walk before work as your “daily commute”. Following a routine that your brain associates with work will also help you get into “work-mode” quicker!
An article that supports this theory is, The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing, which pulls together 5 studies that look at the influences on clothing on an individual’s cognitive response. Study 1, in particular, “demonstrated that wearing relatively formal clothing was associated with increased abstract processing”, showing that dressing smarter for your workday will help you “think outside the box” for those work problems you might face!
No Pressure – Be kind to yourself
2020 has made businesses and its employees face obstacles that they’ve never had to before. Many people are self-isolating for health reasons, many are having to work their normal hours with no childcare or assistance, and many are having to face the general uncertainness that goes hand in hand with the times. This is unprecedented and so it’s okay to give yourself a break, and be kind to yourself.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Stribe integrates with your workplace wellbeing strategy read our recent blog covering that topic here.
Let us know what you think!
Do you have any advice for improving wellbeing whilst working from home? We’d love to hear from you! Email us on – firstname.lastname@example.org