Keeping Yourself and Your Employees Mentally Healthy While Social Distancing

Keeping Yourself and Your Employees Mentally Healthy While Social Distancing

The coming few weeks, or indeed months, are going to prove difficult for millions of people across the UK as we are forced to combine our working environment and home lives.

What was once considered a benefit of working set hours in an office, work to life balance has never been more universally disrupted.

During this time, it’s crucial to stick to a routine and, above all else, try to separate working areas from the places that we relax, eat and most importantly SLEEP.


Tip #1: Set up space just for working

When choosing a place to work, the first place you should rule out is your bed.

If you know what I mean when I say Sleep Hygiene (and no, it’s not washing your sheets) you’ll know how important this is.

Practising Sleep Hygiene in its most basic form, means putting place the following rules:

  • Going to bed and waking up at a set time
  • Avoid using phones and other electronic devices in your bed
  • Do not watch TV on your bed
  • Do not work or study on your bed
Working in or on your bed is a bad idea for both productivity and keeping your work and relaxation time separate.

Sticking to these fundamental things have been proven to improve people’s ability to get a good night’s sleep which, in the long-run, will make this situation much more endurable.

For some people, this will be easy. If you have a spare room or another space to use that is obvious, there is little to think about.

However, employees who live in shared accommodation or studio-flats will need to be more creative.


Tip #2 Stay in touch!

Keep everyone in the loop and schedule regular meetings and communications with your team! It can be easy to feel disconnected both from work and the wider world, so remaining engaged with your colleagues is vital.

Communications can be in the form of phone calls, video calls, instant messages, and regular email updates.

Company-wide updates can boost morale and make people feel more certain at these trying times.

The next few weeks will be especially hard for employees that live alone. Check-in on them!

Keep up to date with your colleagues, you might find you miss them!

Take special care to have one-to-ones with them, not only to make sure they’re on track but also to have a chat.

Tip #3 Dress like you’re going outside

While for the first few days the novelty of working in your pyjamas may be fun, you may find that it wears off pretty quick.

Find a balance between comfort and business (above: not an example of how to do this)

The way you dress has been proven to affect you psychologically. Which means that, while you don’t need to dress up in business formal attire, you should still take time to shower, brush your teeth and get ready for the day.

Part of the fun of homeworking is getting to be more comfortable but, as a general rule of thumb if you’re feeling unmotivated, consider if you would go to the shops wearing your current outfit. If not, maybe think about changing into something else.

On the other hand, if you’re in your pyjamas and are having the productivity-run of your life, keep doing what you’re doing! You do you!


Tip #4 Stay away from distractions

One big challenge of homeworking is accountability. Without co-workers or managers nearby, it’s easy to become distracted and fall behind on work.

While at other times working at home is a benefit that can be taken away. At the minute, we all need to pull our fingers out and work to maintain productivity.

If you find yourself thinking: if I were in the office, I would have finished this task by now, try these simple measures to make sure you’re on track:

  • Turn off the TV
  • Log out of personal social media on the computer you are working from
  • Put your phone in the drawer (unless you need it)
  • Find a new working space away from distractions

Tip #5 Remember to take breaks when you need to & get out a little

Take your breaks roughly when you would in the office. This will help break up the day but also structure your day as it would be at work.

In keeping with current government guidelines, you are allowed to take one piece of outside exercise a day, such as a walk or run.

Take it! Fresh air is king, and being outside will break up your day as well.