Mental health and home working blog image

Our tips for good mental health working from home

Your mental health is just as important as your physical wellbeing. In the past few years, we have seen a big increase in the number of clients who are choosing to create a Positive Workplace that supports their staff both physically and mentally. According to Mind, 1 in 4 of us will at some point experience common mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.

In the current situation, most of us are fortunate enough to work from home. And with no commute it might sound like a dream, but it’s easy to fall into habits that can negatively affect our concentration, productivity and mental health.

Whether you’re self-isolating or work from home on a regular basis, feelings of isolation and loneliness can lead to stress which in turn could lead to depression and anxiety which can affect your work too. What can you do to reduce the effect these feelings can have?

Upgrade your home office

At the moment, most of us will have had little to no time to prepare for home working, however, with 84% of remote workers based at home, ensuring you have a well-equipped dedicated workstation is key.

Workstations should be wide enough to support wrists, arms and elbows whilst using your mouse and keyboard, try and use a comfortable chair with strong lumbar support to best support the curve in your lower back and don’t forget your home comforts – a great speaker to blast your favourite songs will help you to enjoy your day.

Move around

We don’t have to always go outside to get our hour of exercise each day. Activities like yoga and pilates can be done in the comfort of your home and can also help stretch your muscles out after being sat at a desk for 8 hours.

Whatever exercise you decide to do will be beneficial to your mental health as well as your physical health. According to Psychology Today, 20-30 mins of exercise a day can significantly lower anxiety levels and a rush of endorphins and serotonin will flood your brain with happiness.

Get back to Nature

Bringing plants indoors is a great way of getting back to nature. According to Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, being close to nature helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression whilst also helping to lower blood pressure.

How to improve your concentration when remote working

You can sometimes feel like working from home is actually more stressful than working in an office. With people so quick to assume that when you’re working from home you’re not actually working at your normal rate, you can feel added pressure to make sure you go above and beyond.

That being said, it’s easy to get distracted by little things like putting some washing on or putting on the dishwasher but doing this can interrupt your workflow. Staying focused on your work tasks is key to make sure you still hit those important deadlines no matter where you’re working from. If you do need to do a few household jobs, make sure you designate some time each day and build it into your daily routine.

Missing these deadlines or not being able to tick tasks off your to-do list may cause you to feel like you have under performed which could lead to anxiety, stress and depression. We’ve outlined some top tips below to help maintain and improve concentration levels.

  1. Have a dedicated working area and try making it as free from distractions as possible. By having a dedicated workstation, you create a physical barrier between work and home life, a barrier that is easily blurred when you live and work in the same environment.
  2. Stay off social media. As tempting as it may be to have a scroll through your Instagram feed for 5 minutes, social media is a major time suck. If you haven’t got the will power, there are people that can help. StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to set specific time restrictions for certain websites. Once your time has been used up, the selected sites cannot be accessed for the remainder of the day.
  3. Dress for success. No, we don’t mean dress in your best suit to go and sit at your kitchen table but the act of getting up and changing out of your pyjamas is crucial in getting you into a work mindset. Even if you only change from pyjamas to jogging bottoms!
  4. Create a schedule for the day. Not only does this allow you to plan your day and get all your tasks done but if you use your work calendar, your colleagues can see when you’re free and when you’re not to be disturbed. Make sure to include short breaks and a lunch break to get away from your screen.
  5. Know when to clock out. It’s so easy to work and not even realise you’ve worked 2 hours overtime or to quickly reply to an email on a Sunday night but allowing yourself to clock out and rest properly will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to head back to work the next day.

Positivity feeds positivity. “A positive attitude is important for many reasons, but one of the main reasons for having a positive attitude in the workplace is because it can rub off on everyone else. Exuding positivity can be infectious and over time, can influence your co-workers” Amy Finlay, co-founder of Edinburgh IFA.

We are all in this current situation together. The chances are, if you are feeling isolated, low and depressed, your friends, family and colleagues are feeling the same. Reach out and look after each other, especially if you know someone already suffers with mental health issues. If you have no one to turn to, there are lots of great charities like Mind which can help.