Is there any advice available on looking after my wellbeing while working remotely?
Here’s some advice to help you to take care of your wellbeing while we’re away from the campus
It’s based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing framework, an evidence-based model for wellbeing developed by the New Economics Foundation. When the Five ways are exercised we are more likely to feel better.
Find a suitable space at home to work, this will lend itself to a feeling of “going to work”. A sensible worktop and screen arrangement are essential. And use the display screen assessment to help you check that your set-up is still suitable.
Physical isolation doesn’t mean social distance. Keep in touch with colleagues regularly, text, DM, make every effort to attend online meetings. Regular meetings in MSTeams is a great way to do this.
Online coffee breaks are a good way to check in with each other and not talk about work.
Keep to routine so colleagues know when you are available.
Keeping in touch with friends and family who are not part of your bubble is also important and it might be useful to set a regular time to call them – phone, text or video call.
There’s a new employee assistance service – PAM Assist – where you can contact an external independent adviser about a wide range of topics, personal and work related, in confidence and at any time. Details are on the HR webpages.
There is support from the staff networks – the LGBTQ+ group on firstname.lastname@example.org and the Staff Mental Health Network email@example.com. The these are run by staff for staff. Many trades unions also have support services.
Leave the house every day and get some fresh air – the garden counts.
Have regular breaks, get up and move, it’s too easy to get lost in your screen. You could set your alarm and move every 20 minutes, or find a buddy and prompt each other to shift. Arrange an online break or commit to sending each other photographic evidence of your movement. Hanging out the washing counts.
Taking control of your working practice, by organising your schedule or spotting something that can be improved and improving it. Now is the time to innovate, find new ways of doing things and take back control.
There are many different type of on-line exercise classes now, check out the ones from our colleagues here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgkQjA7GhYTcibOEwbkl60A.
Take notice of how you feel and ask colleagues how they are.
If you notice a colleague struggling, contact them and ask about general topics – how was the weekend, their plans for the evening, TV programmes you both watch.
Create a “preparing for work” routine, be that a quick tidy or washing the pots to replace the commute.
Set your working hours and maintain the boundaries between work and home life, it’s very tempting to ‘just finish this off’ and end up working beyond the normal end of the working day.
Spend a few minutes settling into your workspace, prioritising your to do list and preparing to be at work. In the same way, practice a shut-down at the end of the day, reflect on the day’s achievements and tidy your desk.
Notice the changing seasons, the days are getting a little longer now, make a point of going outside when the sun shines. Share these moments with your team.
Some colleagues have found that learning about ‘mindfulness’ helps them, there are some useful resources and details of courses on the staff development workshop system.
We’re learning fast right now: immersing ourselves in the IT; embracing new ways of connecting; It’s challenging and rewarding in equal measure and will continue to be so as things keep on changing.
Learning takes a lot of mental energy and recognise some things might take longer than usual.
Notice your ‘learning curve’ – it takes a while to settle into new routines and reflect on what works well for you.
Check out the resources and sessions on the staff development booking pages; Linked-In learning has a wide range of courses, not only about work – you can learn to play a musical instrument; take some time to update the ‘essentials’ training in LearnUpon. There are good quality and free courses here https://www.futurelearn.com/
It might be a good time to rekindle or start a new hobby, read that book that you’ve been meaning to.
Colleagues are offering their resources and expertise to others by responding to requests for information and joining in discussions.
Become a mentor for a new member of staff, someone taking up a new role or returning to working following a period of absence. There’s a short briefing session to help you get started, see staff development workshop bookings.
Volunteers are needed to support local people, here’s a website link where you can volunteer. https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help
Whatever we do in HE – teachers and professional services staff – we all contribute and are making a difference for students, colleagues and society.
There are 3 other topics that are important to wellbeing;
More difficult to control when at home and the fridge/biscuit tin is nearby, remember the 5 a day advice and set aside regular time for meals, taken away from the home workstation. Keep the balance between food and exercise and have the occasional treat.
There is a lot of good advice about sleep here https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/sleep-better/
Key messages – have a regular routine, wind down, no screens before bed
This can be through a range of activities – not just sitting still, this video has some good ideas.