Now that the majority of us are going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, we have all had to adjust to a new way of life. For many of us, going into the office provided a sense of routine and security; it ensured that we got to see people everyday and make social connections, which we know is good for our mental health. Swapping this for staring at your own four walls all day, and dealing with a constant stream of video calls, has taken a lot of us out of our comfort zones.
Jade, our Marketing Officer has found that doing a 15-20 minute yoga video on Youtube before she starts work in the morning has helped her focus and given her a sense of routine.
"Working from home hasn't changed my need for coffee! I like to start my mornings by sitting in my kitchen, sipping a fresh brew from my favourite mug, and chatting to my husband. It helps give me that little sense of calm before I launch into the day" says Louisa, Head of Marketing.
Ed, our Communications Assistant has set up a 'Work' and 'Personal' login for his laptop to help differentiate between the two. He uses a different screensaver and different settings to help him switch off from work mode at the end of each day.
"Having a proper lunch break and eating my lunch in a different room from where I am working helps to break up my day a bit. I like to make sure I have a proper lunch break in the office too, so this is just an extension of that," says Sophie our Brand Assistant.
Emma Ihsan, our Head of Corporate Partnerships has decided to distinguish between proper meetings and more informal chats with her team: "We don't have a large flat, but I have made the kitchen my formal work space, and I take more informal catch-up calls on my sofa in the front room."
Rich, one of our Information Officers, has started going for his walk straight after work: "Coming back from the walk feels a bit like I am coming home after a day out."
When you are in the office, it's easier to get your head down and focus on a piece of work. But when it comes to fielding off phone calls, video chats and messaging apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack, it can be a lot harder to find quiet time to concentrate. Our Head of Digital Engagement, Emma has found that temporarily pausing notifications and setting her phone onto Silent for an hour or so, helps her get the concentration time she needs.
Ewan, who works on our Mental Health at Work website and is accustomed to working from home as he has been doing it for a number of years offered the following advice: "Make sure you have ways to feel you're doing something useful. If you're not interacting with many people, it's easy to slip into everything feeling a bit pointless. One small thing you can take a pride in, tick off or accomplish each day makes all the difference - maybe a work thing, or maybe cutting the hedge or just tidying up."
We know that this is a worrying time for everyone with lots of uncertainty and potentially difficult choices for both employees and employers. You can find more guidance via the Mental Health at Work coronavirus toolkit, which brings together a selection of helpful online resources to support people at work with their mental health during this period. If you're worried about your mental health more generally, please take a look at our information around mental health and coronavirus.