Working from homeWorking from home used to mean having a day to catch up in the garden or get that back bedroom decorated! For some though it was what it said on the tin and time to complete projects or work without interruption from work colleagues. Oh, how wistful for those interruptions have some of us become!
Many have now been working from home since March and many more have been furloughed and confined also to the home. How do these two cohorts coexist and make it through the day or even week?

Whether you are delivering on-line lessons, planning or assessing, the stress and anxiety build-up caused by working from home can be overwhelming. Everyone is dealing with a multitude of issues at the moment whether it be financial worries, coping with poorly relatives or household members, grief over the loss of a loved one, home schooling young children and keeping them occupied, social distancing when out of the house and confusing information released from the press. The daily chat with work colleagues is conspicuous by its absence. A once much needed valve for letting off steam and trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs is no longer available to us. Online and telephone conversations are just not the same. Humans require interaction with each other on a face to face basis.

We need human contact whether in the workplace or in the home.

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) suggest;

It is important to look after your mental health and wellbeing when working remotely and self-care is really important at this time.

So how do we then cope with the challenges of working from home?

  • Firstly, ensure you have a designated workplace to avoid the blurring of home and work activities. Also, it creates an area that the rest of the household knows not to disturb and is your own domain.
  • Ensure you take regular breaks, get some fresh air and refresh with water and snacks. Working from home may impact on your availability but remember you are allowed time out and availability should not be judged but supported by both colleagues and management.
  • Keep connected as best you can with work colleagues, continue with regular one to ones and team meetings. Create new social events online with colleagues to not only keep in touch but to help those who may be struggling with isolation. Quizzes, coffee mornings and discussions can be organized to enable a virtual interaction.
  • Keep work and home life separate. Switch off and keep to set boundaries. Answering emails at 10 o’clock at night is not good for you or your family’s well-being. Turn off the mobile and computer at the end of the working day. The commute time you used to use to either plan or unplug use it now for perhaps a Youtube yoga session, or a long soak in the bath if at all possible – difficult with other household members around true!
  • Keeping learning is highly beneficial to mental health. Striving for new information and keeping the grey matter engaged provides an opportunity for creativity and positive achievements. There are many online courses available and many short courses are free. Visit Future Learn for some new adventures. Maybe when we are able to teach face to face the Award in Education and Training may be the course for you; to help with a new career or to enhance a current one.

The above suggestions perhaps indicate the need for routine, structure and purpose to care for your mental health and well-being. So, take time to stop, pause and re-evaluate. The CWMT have an action plan on their website on working-from-home which is extremely helpful in enabling you to do just that. It also provides a daily planner to help you going forward.

Keeping in a positive frame of mind can be trying and easier said than done. However, try and think of three things each day that was either an achievement or had a positive outcome or just made you smile and appreciative of being alive! Perhaps seeing an owl for the first time on your daily walk, your dog resting its head in your lap, a smile from someone special; just simple things but so positive and uplifting – make a note of them.

Another superb website offering support is Education Support. There is a plethora of resources, advice and support for staff within the education sector here. Whether you are still working in the classroom, online at home or you have been furloughed this site has everything you need to help with the anxieties and stress you may be facing. They also have a 24-hour helpline 0800 562 561.

With the uncertainty of our lives and worry about what happens next, many of us struggle with sleep. Our sleep patterns change, we become irritable with those we live and lack motivation. Sleep is so important to our health and well being both mentally and physically, it is an important part of our biology and supports the restoration of both mind and body. Margaret Thatcher is famous for stating that “sleep is for wimps” but on the other hand, Thomas Dekker suggested, “sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together” (Russell Foster). A lack of sleep causes poor memory, increased impulsiveness, poor judgement, poor creativity and increases stress levels. For more information on sleep, I highly recommend the Ted Talk by Russell Foster in which he explains why we need sleep and how to enable that process.

Working from homeSo, working from home can be a pleasant experience for some and an isolating experience for others who really feel the loss of normal life. Hopefully the above information will help the adjustment for you. Please do visit the links I have suggested they really are very helpful and supportive.

Other organisations which could offer support and further information include:

Mind, the mental health charity. To make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.

Resource for anxiety help, diagnosis, and treatment, from leading researchers and therapists.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and the cause of 18 deaths every day.

Samaritans works to make sure there’s always someone there for anyone who needs someone.

We look forward to meeting you face to face for our Award in Education and Training course as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, keep safe and keep up to date with our web page at