Working from home has quickly become a government recommendation to limit exposure to the coronavirus outbreak.
We recognise that this is an unsettling time for everyone and are conscious of the need for everyone to take care of their mental health and wellbeing, as well as their physical health.
We understand that you may find social distancing to be boring, demotivating, or frustrating. You might find your mood and feelings are affected, and you may be worried about the social and economic implications of the national and global situation. You could miss social contact and seeing your work colleagues.
Please be reassured this is a normal response to an extraordinary set of circumstances.
Schools may be asking some staff to attend work at school as they provide for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. Where practical they may do this on a rota basis to minimise individual isolation. This will of course be dependent on staff being well themselves, not in isolation and other factors such as childcare.
Schools will also be asking staff to undertake to work from home and distance learning where this is possible.
Nonetheless, there will be an increased need to stay away from the workplace for an indeterminate amount of time and this brings many challenges for staff, and we wanted to ensure you have some guidance and tips for coping with this new arrangement and staying as healthy as possible.
- We understand it may not always be possible to have a separate workspace in your home. If possible, try and keep your working area feeling separate, so that you do not feel work is taking over your home. Clear your work things away at the end of the day, so it’s clear that your working time has ended and there is a clear separation.
- Ensure your working from home arrangements are working technically e.g. you can access phones, the internet and any systems or hardware you need to carry out your work, letting your line manager know if there are technical issues.
- Take regular breaks and do some form of physical activity (either at home or in the fresh air if you can). You can look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website.
- Try to minimise distractions from others in your household, whether pets or family! If possible, shut the door during periods of work or ask others to respect your working time and need to concentrate.
- Communicating with colleagues is crucial, it helps to overcome feelings of isolation which can lead to poor mental health.
- The school will keep in contact to discuss current work issues but also to ensure that team members are kept up to date with wider school updates and allows team members to raise any queries or concerns they might have.
With so much uncertainty and the change to normal working patterns, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically healthy during this time such as:
- Take regular exercise
- Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, gardening, other indoor hobbies like listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
- Keep windows open to let in the fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into a garden, if it’s accessible
- Limit the amount of time you look at the news
Please contact your line manager if you have any concerns.