Here at Protocol, we pride ourselves on ‘Placing People First’, but we need to remember to place ourselves first too…

A lot of businesses currently find themselves in the situation where they have had to transition most, if not all, of their staff to remote working from home in order to attempt to slow the Coronavirus outbreak. For some, this is the norm, but for others it is a completely new concept!

It is hard to go from the buzz and banter of a busy office, to working on your own, on the best ‘home office’ setup that could be put together at such short notice. You may begin to notice all these changes and uncertainty taking a toll on your mental health. To help, we have put together a few tips to keep you healthy whilst adapting to the new circumstances you find yourself in.

Create a positive working environment

It is key that you have a positive space to work in. Where possible try and set up an office space away from your bedroom or living room so there are clear boundaries between ‘home’ and ‘work’. Make sure there is plenty of light, and try and use a desk for your laptop or computer to save yourself from getting backache.

Have a clear focus for every day

Make yourself a to-do list with a clear vision of what you want to achieve in the day, this will help keep you on track and focussed when your mind inevitably starts to wonder. This will also help you on days where you feel you may have been less productive, you can look back and see all the little things you have achieved.

Stick to your usual routine

It is really important that you don’t throw all sense of normality out the window. Try to stick to your normal working hours where possible, don’t be tempted to start earlier, and try to avoid logging in after hours too, ‘just one more email’ can soon turn into a couple of hours! If you usually get up, go for a run, eat breakfast and shower before work then continue to do so. This will ensure you’re in the right frame of mind to begin your day and is likely to make you more productive.

Ignore misinformation

There will be lots of ‘fake news’ flying around at this time, which can often cause unnecessary fear and panic. Try to only listen to official news outlets, such as BBC News as this is where all the Prime Minister’s updates are being broadcast first.

Take regular breaks & get out of the house

Try and take regular 10-15 minute breaks away from your desk to re-focus your mind and keep you alert. You could have a brew, play with your pet, read some of your book or play a quick game with your kids!

You should also get out the house and keep active where you can, take your coffee into the garden, go for a walk or run (but follow lockdown guidelines), or do a home workout – it is scientifically proven that fresh air, vitamin D & exercise release the ‘feel good’ hormone of endorphins which will contribute greatly to your physical and mental well-being.

Eat well, sleep well & keep hydrated!

It may be really tempting to raid the fridge or biscuit tin (particularly if you’re working from the kitchen!) but try not to graze throughout the day. Try and stick to your three main meals, and avoid those unhealthy snacks! Getting a full nights sleep is also vital, don’t stay up until 3am playing computer games, or watching TV just because you don’t have to travel to the office the next day. Eating well, sleeping well and keeping hydrated are all really important when taking care of both your physical and mental health.

Communication is key

We are all used to sitting with our colleagues all day, every day. Chatting at our desks, or whilst making a drink in the kitchen are things I am sure we have all taken for granted! There are many ways of keeping in contact using online methods, such as via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or WhatsApp. Try and check in regularly, or have a virtual coffee break together to stay connected. It is really important during these times that we do not isolate ourselves any more than necessary.

And most importantly, speak up if you’re struggling…

Remember, your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. These are uncertain times for all, and there is no shame in admitting you are finding things tough. Speak to your manager, a colleague or friend if you struggling in any way.

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