Mental health resources for teams working from home during lockdown
20 May 2020
A study carried out in April 2020 found that over 57% of UK employees are now working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While this is no surprise, the study also showed that two in five of respondents feel isolated, while just over one-third are concerned about the long-term impacts that the long period of working from home can have on their mental health. We share some top tips from the Mental Health at Work Website to help support those who are struggling.
Get into a morning routine
- Waking up: Although you may have some extra time in bed without a commute, aim to wake up around the same time every day. This helps stabilise your internal clock and improve your sleep overall. You’ll feel less tired, more refreshed, and find it easier to concentrate throughout the day.
- Getting ready: Get ready, washed, and dressed as if you are going to the office. This will help you get into the mindset that you are at work.
- Setting up your workspace: Try to set aside a work area separate from your sleeping area, as this will help to prepare you for work mode and make it easier to switch off at the end of the day. You don’t need a home office to do this – a small desk set up in a corner of the living room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table can do the trick
Including some movement into your work from home routine will help maintain your physical and mental health. You’ll feel more awake and alert, and your concentration and sleep will improve.
- Outdoors: If you’re not self-isolating, try going for a walk down the street before you start work for the day – this can help you to feel like you have mentally ‘arrived’ at work. Doing the same when you finish your shift can help you to leave your work mindset behind and switch off.
- Indoors: If you’re indoors, look online for an activity that suits you, such as a home yoga video or a fitness class. Some gyms are now live streaming their classes, so you could even join a fitness community in your local area.
Adapt your working style
You’ll need to go out of your way to keep communication open with your team. Here are some suggestions that we are trying:
- Video calls instead of emailing
- Short check-in and check-out calls between managers and their teams, at the start and end of the workday
- Optional Q&A sessions for colleagues to dial in and chat through any concerns or queries they have about working from home
Virtual social sessions
If you usually schedule time in the workday for an activity or exercising with your colleagues, continue to make time for this over webcam or phone. Here are some things that you could try:
- Turn your morning coffee break into a virtual coffee break
- Share photo updates of your lunchtime run, walk or hobbies
- Introduce your pets, kids or houseplants to your team members
- Set up a virtual after-work drink or quiz
- Use instant messenger to communicate with your colleagues if you are feeling out of the loop or need to talk to someone.
If you’re feeling anxious or isolated, remember that support is out there. Find a list of national mental health services and helplines at mentalhealth.org.uk or on mentalhealthatwork.org.uk
Other helpful mental health resources during lockdown:
- Public Health England – Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- City Mental Health Alliance – Supporting colleagues
- Every Mind Matters – Coronavirus and wellbeing
- Mental Health At Work – Coronavirus and isolation: supporting yourself and your colleagues
- Mental Health Foundation – Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- Mind – Coronavirus and your wellbeing
- Rethink Mental Illness – Covid-19 and mental illness
- Samaritans – If you’re worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak