COVID-19 hasn’t just been physically harming, it’s also been mentally draining. If your wellbeing has suffered whilst working from home then we’ve got a webinar just for you! Working from home has become a large part of many of our lives as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As a health and safety company, we believe it’s important to promote good wellbeing during this challenging time.
Hosting the webinar
Megan McGinney, our resident Wellbeing Ambassador and Training Coordinator, has designed a Working from Home Wellbeing Webinar. Megan has experience with face to face learning and an honours degree in applied psychology, making her the perfect host.
What will be covered?
The webinar will cover different topics surrounding wellbeing. There will be focus on:
What mental wellbeing is and why we need to focus on it
The impacts of poor mental wellbeing
How stress, anxiety and depression can present itself.
We will focus on providing ways in which attendees can develop a good work-life balance as well as tips on how to express their needs and mindfulness. We have included a section on how to access resources from work alongside free resources that are available to each attendee should they not want to go through official channels.
Who is it aimed at?
Our target audience is attendees who have been, and are currently, working from home during COVID-19.
Each webinar attendee will be provided with a free resource pack containing additional information on everything discussed. There will be links and contact details to apps and online resources designed to support wellbeing.
When is our next webinar?
Our next webinar is on the 27th of July at 11:00. Tickets are available through Eventbrite, you can click here to register for free now!
Here are a few links to some of our previous articles about wellbeing:
Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic, lots more of us are finding ourselves working from home – some for the very first time. This is a new experience for all of us, in a state of lockdown, being confined to the house, potentially with partners and children adding to the stress of working from home.
In light of this, our team has compiled some useful advice to help with focus, motivation and morale whilst working from home.
Make a schedule
It might not be feasible to work your normal hours when working from home, so don’t force it. Prioritise your workload and arrange your day in a way that is manageable time wise, allowing you to remain focused. Explain to your manager why you feel it would be best to adjust your hours before hand to make sure that it’s ok to do so. Let your colleagues know what your working hours are so that you aren’t dealing with calls/emails when trying to get through the other things. If possible, use a shared calendar so that everyone’s hours are available to make this experience easier on everyone.
When you have finished your day’s work close the laptop, step away from your workstation and relax. It can be difficult to find a balance between work-life and home-life in our current situation. Being caught up in work all the time is a sure-fire way to make yourself miserable.
Have an efficient workspace
A good, well set-up workspace is a must when trying to work from home. Ideally you want to have a space with minimal distractions – a separate room in the house from everyone else is recommended. Setting up a workstation on a dining table, if possible, is also a great way to get yourself in the right frame of mind for work – it can mimic the feeling of being at your desk in the office. If you have to be in a space shared by other people, let them know that you are working and would appreciate the least amount of interruptions as possible. Set time aside throughout the day for them so that they don’t feel ignored – especially if you have young children at home that don’t understand what working means.
You should avoid working from your bed or your sofa if possible. While these places portray comfort and coziness, they won’t allow you to have the right mindset to get work done. You want to set up a desk space to avoid harming your back or neck as well as maintaining some normality.
A great way to set up a temporary desk is depicted in the picture below provided by Ergonomic Trends. Split your workspace into three sections, where everything will have its own place and purpose, preventing clutter and making your work-day less stressful.
Taking regular breaks can improve your workday exponentially. It reduces eye strain from staring at your screen for too long, prevents body aches and pains, and actually helps with understanding and retaining information. There are lots of ways to ensure that you are taking breaks without lacking in work progress. One well known technique is the Pomodoro Technique. It’s based on setting a timer for 25 minutes of work followed by a short break (up to 5 minutes). Each 25 minutes of work is called a session and 4 of these results in a longer break (15-30 minutes). There are lots of apps available to download onto your computer or laptop that will keep count of your sessions.
During these breaks, step away from your workstation, move around, interact with your family, check social media, stretch. These are all allowed, you’ve earned them.
Self-isolation doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be in contact with each other virtually – just not physically. Set up a group chat with the people you work with to keep up to date on what they’ve been working on and for direction. Set up check-ins but keep in mind that they can also be distractions from what you are trying to achieve. Our team has a weekly video chat scheduled so we don’t forget what each other looks like!
But it’s not all about work even if it that’s how it may seem. Contact family during your breaks, find out how they are. Have a joke with your friends, group call the people you can’t see right now. Socialising is good for you and can boost your mood, which in turn will increase productivity and morale.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time isn’t good for anyone and it’s something that we can become guilty of doing when working from home. Precautions should be taken on exposing ourselves to the outside world right now, but we still need fresh air.
Try to go outside for exercise even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day. If you have a family, go out in the garden with them or go for a walk nearby. If you do see anyone, follow government advice and stay at least 2 metres apart.
It’s a scary time right now but it’s important to support each other and try to make routines to manage our days and stay sane. It’s important that we recognise we should be a little less tough on ourselves during this time. We’re all trying our best to continue to work and take care of ourselves and others despite the situation.
To read our article on the IES’s working from home wellbeing survey, please click here.
If you require any further information or support, please don’t hesitate to contact us on either t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Institute of Employment (IES) recently carried out a survey to evaluate the physical and mental wellbeing of employees working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of employees have been forced to work from home raising concerns around the possible impacts this might have. Employers will have to attempt to manage these impacts including deterioration in mental and physical wellbeing, work morale and motivation.
Their survey considers the following:
Whether employees feel trust with their employers
Whether they are worried about job security
Have employees lost sleep worrying about finance, family, health, work-life balance, etc, and is this affecting their work morale?
Launched in March 2020, the survey was designed for homeworkers to measure their wellbeing whilst working from home during COVID-19.
The survey asked homeworkers, ‘how often have you had this condition in the last 2 weeks compared to normal?’ More than half of respondents suffered from aches/pains in neck, shoulder and back, eye strain, headaches or migraines and loss of sleep from worry resulting in fatigue. Less than half experienced aches/pains in knees, hips, wrist/hand and elbow, heartburn or indigestion, leg cramps and chest pain.
These results illustrate that working at home as a result of COVID-19 is having an affect on many components of employee physical health. It also illustrates that a good ergonomic set up plays a significant part in employee’s physical wellbeing at work.
It’s clear that the current situation is also having a detrimental influence on the emotional wellbeing of homeworkers. A significant amount of employees stated that they don’t feel rested, calm or relaxed. In addition feeling inactive and having no interest in their day, was noted. Some respondents also felt anxious about the health of family members and friends.
It was recorded that respondents were also worried about family finance and job security. Loneliness and isolation featured heavily in responses with many suggesting they don’t feel cheerful or in good spirits.
The survey used the WHO-5 well-being index to determine the mental health of employees working from home. This suggested that those who are suffering most are:
looking after elderly relatives;
living with parents or renting;
new to home renting;
working more than 10 hours longer than contracted per week; and
in less frequent contact with their boss and younger workers.
These categories cover the vast majority of employees working at home. It’s clear this situation is having an impact on thousands of people’s mental wellbeing across the country.
Other health concerns
It was noted that over almost half of respondents worried that they were exercising less, they did not have enough time to get their work done and were working long and irregular hours.
A significant percentage of home-workers admitted they were under too much work pressure, their alcohol consumption had increased, they were eating less healthily and had continued working despite illness.
Action for employers
The overall findings from the survey suggest that there has been a significant decline in both the physical and mental wellbeing of employees working from home. Results show that musculoskeletal health, diet and exercise has declined in the majority of homeworkers.
However, the effects aren’t just physical, increased emotional concerns over finance, isolation, energy, work-life balance and family health were also recorded from the respondents.
It’s clear that many employees working from home are facing a challenging time and support from fellow employees and most importantly employers is crucial during this crisis to maintain wellbeing, work morale and motivation.
There are a number of simple steps that employers should consider taking, as well as the normal compliance requirements around ergonomic set up (Display Screen Equipment). We recommend supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of employees with regular check ups – informal messaging groups or virtual coffee mornings are a good place to start. Regular contact with bosses and colleagues, particularly those at ‘high risk’ is essential. In addition, access to an Employee Assistance Programme would be valuable.
We would also recommend that performance targets and monitoring may need to be adjusted accordingly, this may involve the reallocation of tasks and priorities.
If you would like support developing strategies for managing the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees who are working from home please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: email@example.com
Working during lockdown can be challenging for everyone – that’s why we need to be taking care of employee and colleague wellbeing, as well as our own. We’re being made more aware of the impact that quarantine and isolation can have on mental wellbeing. We need to look after ourselves, our friends, family, colleagues, employees, etc.
However, isolation doesn’t mean zero contact with the outside world. We are lucky enough to live in a time where we can talk to people from across the world within the safety of our own homes. There are so many different platforms designed for virtual contact; Skype, iMessage, Email, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, the list goes on.
Here’s a few things we’ve put together which you can do to help your colleagues, and yourself, stay on top of your social interaction and wellbeing.
Working from home means we don’t have the same opportunity to bump into each other in the office and have a quick, casual chat. It might be that conversations with your team feels scripted because your only form of contact is centred around work. Set aside some time to have genuine conversations with the people you work with and ask them how they’re doing. Do little things together that will improve your team’s mood, this could be making a playlist for work, collective coffee breaks or lunch group calls. Include people that may have been furloughed as a way to keep them involved in the team dynamic.
It’s important to understand that people who are normally very self-sufficient and focused may be struggling without the office structure. People might have young children that don’t understand the situation. This can increase stress and anxiety levels, resulting in a decrease of work quantity and quality. Lend a hand to someone who might be feeling overwhelmed by their workload and if possible, encourage flexible working hours. Emphasise that once their working day is done, work equipment should be put away. A healthy balance between ‘work’ and ‘life’ needs to be established to maintain mental wellbeing.
A team needs to know they can talk to each other and ask for help when they need it. Everyone is busy and trying their best to continue their usual workflow which can lead to people feeling that they’re causing a disturbance or inconvenience when asking for help. Take some time to let people know that even though you’re busy, you’re not too busy to help. Let each other talk and vent without being judgmental. Keep in mind that everyone has different tolerance levels and things that one person may not find a big deal, could be keeping someone else up at night. If you think someone may be struggling in a way that you don’t know how to help, ask them if they want to speak to someone qualified and direct them to help through ‘higher-ups’, HR or Occupational Health.
There hasn’t been a scenario quite like this one in recent history. Finding a good balance between giving direction to your team and smothering them can be a challenge. Decide who within your team needs more attention to keep on track and who is managing well on their own. Encourage group interactions such as, “I’m finished this task but can’t get started on the next until xxx has finished their part. Is there anything I can do to help anyone else?” Each person should have a clear objective and know how to work towards it.
Whilst getting work done is everyone’s main objective, having fun should also be a high priority. Find things that your team can do outside of working hours as a group activity. Things like online yoga classes, quiz nights, cooking competitions, starting a TV show together etc. can be great. Activities like this can really help to bring a group together and improve morale. Even though you can’t be together physically you can still have fun and interact virtually to prevent feeling alone/isolated.
Taking care of employee and colleague wellbeing is important, but so is looking after your own. Click here to read our article on maintaining wellbeing whilst working from home during COVID-19. You can also click here to read the NHS’s Every Mind Matters article on mental wellbeing while staying at home.
If you have any further questions or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Before COVID-19, there was a crisis in mental health in the workplace, costing the UK economy almost £35 billion. COVID-19 has highlighted these problems, with mental health collectively suffering and deteriorating across the UK. Here is what we think workplaces should be encouraging to help support their employees and colleagues.
How can you make wellbeing a priority?
Doing 2 of these 5 things each week is said to make a huge difference to mental wellbeing.
Developing a routine that works for you:
Plan how you will spend each day including when you will take breaks and finish working.
Try to get as much sunlight as possible, work with the window open, and spend some time each day outside if it’s safe to do so.
Keep active, build physical activity time into your routine.
Eat well and stay hydrated.
Keep taking any medication you’re on.
Don’t overload yourself with information, take breaks from the news and try to stick with reputable sources.
Understanding your mental wellbeing
What keeps you well? – Think what helps you to balance your day and lift your mood. Is there a particular way of working that makes things easier for you?
What are some triggers and early warning signs? – What things create a negative environment and how can you work around this? If you can think of things that trigger your mental health then you can begin to eliminate these from your day or work on how to manage these triggers better.
Impacts of mental wellbeing on performance – How is your mental health affecting your work life and personal life and are you able to separate these two?
Negative coping strategies – Are you using healthy coping strategies and if not, how can you change these strategies for the better?
It’s important that you’re asking yourself these questions but also relating this to the people you work with and discussing it. This way, you can better understand yourself and others, therefore helping to promote mental health wellbeing in the workplace.
Here you can find more information on how to work well from home during lockdown. This can be used to develop your wellness strategy or as an individuals guide.
Here is a great source of information that gives advice for staying at home, looking after mental wellbeing, support for work and checklists for staying at home.
Do you and your employees/colleagues know what mindfulness is and how to use it to your collective advantage? Find out more about what mindfulness is here.
You can also read our other article on taking care of employee and colleague wellbeing here.
If you have any further questions or require any further support, please do not hesitate to contact us by t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email: email@example.com