Guide Stay well resource pack

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3. Working from home - a good routine

We know we need to stay home and stay safe – but we also need to stay sane! Here are some tips to help you structure your day.

Start the day well

  • Set your alarm and get up at the time you usually get up on a working day.
  • Follow your normal morning routine to stay motivated and able to work successfully.
  • Try wherever possible to keep working hours the same as you would whilst in the office.
  • Make a cup of tea, coffee, or get a glass of water before you settle down to work.
  • Create a dedicated comfortable workspace, with your IT equipment set up properly
  • Do not work from your bed, no matter how tempting!

Keep moving during the day

In a normal working day we are getting up to go to meetings or speak with colleagues. At lunch we might pop out for a sandwich. But at home we might move less, so build some activity into your day.

Moving, stretching or doing some breathing exercise will help to alleviate stress and also keep you calm and focused on your tasks. It can also help with your posture and general wellbeing.

Be productive (if you can)

  • Speak to your manager and ask what they expect of you over the coming weeks.
  • Explain what you need from them and answer their questions so that you both have a clear understanding of what you can and will achieve.
  • Stick to your usual working hours if possible and set achievable goals.
  • If you are working overtime hours unavoidably because of this crisis response, make sure you are recording your extra hours in a way agreed with your manager, and do everything you can to look after yourself and avoid burn-out.
  • Having too little work to do can feel as stressful as too much, especially when you are used to being useful and productive. If your work has slowed because your service priorities have change, talk to your line manager in the first instance to get direction and reassurance.
  • Make a ‘to do’ list. This will help you to get everything done and will also boost your morale when ticking items that are completed off the list.
  • Do not try to do too much at once.
  • Focus on one task at a time.

Food and eating well

  • Make sure you eat breakfast each morning – see also ‘start the day well’.
  • Try to have a set lunchtime.
  • Make sure you take a proper break – don’t eat while working.
  • Enjoy the opportunity to eat lunch with family members, or listen to the radio or your favourite music. If you have a garden, go outside, weather permitting, if not, open the window and get some fresh air.
  • Make sure your snacks are healthy. Don’t reach for the biscuits, instead have a piece of fruit or chop some vegetables e.g.: carrot/cucumber/celery sticks.

Stay in touch

  • Stay in touch with your colleagues.
  • A quick phone call is better for feeling connected than using email. But even an email can be really helpful to combat loneliness, or feeling isolated or stuck in terms of your workload.
  • Keeping connected can also help with motivation.
  • Some teams have WhatsApp groups to keep the team spirit going. Your team might have other solutions to keep connected. (But please still remember social media should not be used for confidential work matters – keep it for non-work chat to keep up morale, or general work discussions that are not confidential.)

Know when to switch off

  • When you’ve done your day’s work, know when to turn the laptop off, and don’t let work leach into your evening.
  • Go to bed at your usual time, to keep in your good routine ready for the next day.