Hybrid Working: Our Mental Health Guide to Working From Home
Working from home can be difficult at times for some. For many of us, it means learning how to balance our work and home life.
With lockdown measures now eased, employers and employees are now trying to strike a balance between pre-pandemic working in the office and a more flexible working from home culture, which has led to a recent rise in “hybrid working”, where employees spend their work time split between the office and home.
Working from home does have perks that some of us enjoy (bye bye commute!) but there are challenges for some, often deriving from their home situation.
In the UK, 59% of workers prefer to work in a hybrid model (CEPR, 2021). Despite the benefits, feeling stress, lack of motivation, anxiety and uncertainty is completely normal. Finding the best way to juggle work with our personal/ family life, especially during times like the school holiday, can be difficult.
These simple tips can help you feel more productive and motivated whilst WFH:
1) Create a morning routine
Create a morning routine that mentally prepares you for work. This can help you get into the "I'm going to work" mindset while still at home.
You probably have a routine when you get to work, so creating a routine at home is also a good idea. It could be making a cup of coffee or having going for a morning jog. It could be getting dressed (although it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas).
2) Take your lunch break
Taking your break is extremely important to rest your brain from work and your screen.
Get up and move about, go for a short walk or make a coffee. Try setting a timer or alarm on your computer screen or mobile phone to remind you to take a break.
3) Stay Hydrated
And no, cups of tea and coffee don’t count!
Try and drink plenty of water. Use water bottles if that helps; You can also download apps such as ‘Hydro Coach’ that remind you to rehydrate.
4) Establish Boundaries
It’s important to establish boundaries with yourself and those in your household when you’re working from home:
Set times/ schedules for work tasks and stick to them
Aim to start and finish at your normal work hours
If you can, create a workspace that only you can use in your home
Let others in your house know when you will be busy and shouldn’t be disturbed (i.e., on calls)
Keep everything you need for work in one space, keeping it child/ pet proof
5) Get up and stretch
If it’s possible in the area you have set up at home, try standing up to do your work for a change of pace. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting and it’s good for your back and posture.
Try standing up every 30 minutes or so to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting.
6) Stay Connected
In and out of work, human interaction matters - so schedule video calls and pick up the phone instead of emailing.
It's common to feel isolated when you’re staring at a screen all day. Remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you. Ask how they're doing and whether there are ways you can support each other. Make sure you keep in touch with support networks, even a text, phone call or video chat can make a difference.
Organisations & Resources that can help if you're struggling:
Samaritans: the Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day, in full confidence. Call 116 123 or email email@example.com
Mind Infoline: Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 03001233393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rethink Advice and Information Service: Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance: 030 05000 927. Email: email@example.com
Anxiety: Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9.30-5.30 Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.