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Working from home and personal time

When working from home it is important to build a working routine. Here are some ideas to create a better working environment for you.

Working from home


  • Add in an email footer such as:

During these unprecedented times, my working hours may fall outside regular office hours so may not be the same as yours. Please don’t feel the need to action or respond until you are back online. When you’re offline, do try to be offline. Be with loved ones. Go for a walk. Read a book. Do whatever you choose. We can pick this up when you’re back online

Working hours

  • Be mindful that there may be restrictions on how available a colleague might be due to caring responsibilities or more recently having a reduced working week.  If there is a deadline for a task or piece of work, discuss what is feasible rather than assume it can be tackled that day

Staying connected

  • Being able to see someone and their home environment makes us feel more connected. Use video chat where possible to have internal conversations – virtual coffee anyone?


  • Be aware that live streaming will take up more internet bandwidth. If you have an important video call check with others in your household to ensure as much bandwidth as possible is available.

Structure your day

  • Use your diary to book out time during the day for lunch, coffee breaks and exercise. 

News cycle

  • Consider whether you need to restrict your access (and/or your family’s access) to the news. There is a real risk that you will hear the same news headline every 30 minutess, which significantly increases the emotional impact it has on you. Think about when and how you need to keep yourself updated and avoid situations with a 24/7 news stream.

Helping others

Here are some further tips when working from home.

Personal time

Structure your day

  • Where possible create a structure around what you need or would like to achieve during your personal time, for some it may be reading or following a hobby, for others spending time with children and not supervising school work, and at weekends try to vary what you do


  • Find the time to go for a walk, exercise in your front room or find an online session run via your local gym.  Some simple stretching exercises may be just the way to start your day.  Other ideas: free easy 10 minute work outs from Public Health England or from Sports England – try this site NHS Fitness Studio

Fresh air

  • If you can’t get outside open the windows to let in fresh air, arrange space to sit and see a nice view and get some natural sunlight, or get out into the garden if you can.
  • Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group

Down time

  • Dust off the jigsaw puzzles, tackle the pile of books you have always been meaning to read, take up a new hobby – star gazing, growing sunflowers, knitting anyone?  Whatever it is there will be an App for that to guide you through what to do. An alternative is having a good clear out – garden shed to kitchen drawers, we all accumulate stuff

Staying connected 

  • Your personal support network is essential.  Keep in touch with your friends and family, it can be an uplifting experience, especially if you've had a bad day, let others support you, as you would support them

Switching off

  • Being able to unwind and have quality rest/sleep is probably the trickiest part of this lockdown period. Create a routine to help you slow down, resist the temptation to check emails, drink coffee / alcohol prior to bedtime.  Look into sleep Apps, audio books or soft music.  If you work from your bedroom, where possible, clear work items away


  • Menu planning or even cooking from scratch may be a new or challenging task for many. Think about how leftovers might help make the next meal, if you have access to a freezer consider cooking in batches and freezing.  Left over vegetables can make a soup the next day. Where possible source fresh items, though we recognise this might not always be possible. Consider how much you want to involve the whole family / household in sharing menu ideas and cooking chores.  


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