5 work from home tips to look after your mental health

Taking care of your mental health is important when you're working remotely. Without the usual office environment, it's easy to feel isolated and stressed. In this blog we will share how you can better manage your mental health while working from home.

8th May 2024

Working remotely has its perks, like flexibility, no commute, and better work-life balance. But let's face it, it also brings its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to mental health and well-being. Without the structure and social connections of an office, it's easy for work and home life to blend together, leading to stress, isolation, and burnout.

But don't worry, there are ways to take care of your mental health while enjoying the benefits of remote work. Here are some tips to help you stay balanced:

1. Create boundaries between work and home life 

One of the biggest challenges of remote work is separating your professional and personal life when it's all happening under one roof. To maintain healthy boundaries:

🖥️ Have a dedicated workspace that you only use during work hours. We know it’s not always possible to have your own office space. Even if it's just a corner of the dining table, pack it up at the end of the day.

⏱️ Have a consistent schedule with clear start and end times. This will help you avoid the temptation to log on early or keep working late just because you can. By having a routine you can better manage your time and make sure you don’t overwork yourself. 

⛔ Turn off notifications on your work apps and devices outside of work hours. Disconnect to give yourself a real break.

Setting these boundaries helps your brain switch more easily between work and relaxation mode. You'll be more focused and productive when working, and better able to recharge during your downtime.

2. Remote working doesn’t mean you can’t socialise

Loneliness is one of the top struggles reported by remote workers. We're social creatures and those water cooler chats and after-work happy hours with colleagues play an important role in our wellbeing. 

Make it a priority to maintain social ties, both with co-workers and in your personal life:

📱Use video calls for meetings and one-on-ones to get that face-to-face interaction (not always, but it does help build more of a rapport with your team members)

📚Organise virtual social events like coffee chats, book clubs, lunch and learn. Get creative and test out different sessions. 

👋Proactively reach out to check in on teammates, especially if you sense someone is struggling. A little support can go a long way.

☕Schedule time for socialising outside of work, whether virtual or in-person. Lean on friends and family where you can. 

Even as introverts, we all need some positive social interaction to feel grounded and ward off isolation. Make it part of your routine.

3. Get up and move

Without a commute or meetings to walk to, remote work can mean a lot more time sitting at the desk. This isn't just bad for your physical health - it takes a toll mentally too. 

Sitting for long periods is linked to increased depression, anxiety and general mental distress. Research shows that regularly raising your heart rate can reduce the risk of depression by as much as 30%. Exercise is a powerful mood booster, stress-reliever and energy-enhancer. So get that body moving throughout the day!

👀 Use the 20-20-20 rule to take the strain off your eyes.Every 20 minutes spent using a screen, try to look away at something that is 20 feet away for a total of 20 seconds.

🚶Use calls as a chance to walk and talk (on mute when needed). 

☀️ Go for a lunchtime walk to get away from your desk and get some fresh air. 

🏋️ Prioritise a workout before or after your workday when you can. Walk, run, bike, do an online class - whatever activities you enjoy.

When your body feels good, your mind will follow. Make movement a non-negotiable part of your WFH routine for both physical and mental health.

4. Take real breaks

With no one watching over your shoulder, it's tempting to power through the day and skip breaks when working remotely. But downtime isn't slacking off - it's critical for wellbeing and performance. 

To make the most of breaks:

🥪 Fully step away from your workspace. No eating lunch with one hand on the keyboard. 

🧘 Do a restful activity not involving devices - read, stretch, meditate, go outside, chat with a housemate.

🥑 Have a snack break! What better excuse to get away from your desk than to make yourself a delicious afternoon snack?

Your brain can only focus for so long before it needs to rest and recharge. Respect your natural rhythms and productivity will follow. Burnout helps no one.

5. Make self-care a priority 

Finally, to show up as your best self in remote work and life, prioritise taking care of yourself. You are your most important asset. Self-care looks different for everyone but a few key areas to focus on:

💤 Get enough sleep. This is the foundation for mental health and resilience. Create a relaxing wind-down routine and stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

🍉 Nourish your body with whole foods and lots of water. Good nutrition has a huge impact on mood and energy levels.

🎾 Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy and fulfilment outside of work. Having a satisfying personal life will make work challenges easier to handle.

💟 Know the signs that you're struggling and reach out for support early, whether to friends, family, colleagues or a mental health professional. There is no shame in asking for help.

In a world that glorifies busyness and burnout, practising self-care is a radical act. Give yourself permission to make your wellbeing a top priority.

10 flexible companies offering mental health support in 2024

If you’re looking for companies that will prioritise your mental health here are some of our flexified companies that offer comprehensive support to ensure the well-being of their employees. 

  1. Multiverse: Multiverse is a new tech-first institution that combines work and learning to deliver equitable access to economic opportunity for everyone. 
  2. Seatfrog: Seatfrog are a one-stop shop for rail travel. Our users can buy train tickets, upgrade their tickets to first class, or even swap their train if plans have changed.
  3. Tui: A Leading global travel and leisure experience company counting 1200 travel agencies, around 130 planes, over 400 hotels, 16 cruise liners, various digital platforms for leisure activities, and over 60,000 brilliant colleagues worldwide.
  4. Storyblok: A company with a mission to to deliver the best Content Management System that validates and prioritises content management innovations, enables teams to deliver their content in a fast and reliable way while building the remote company 
  5. Virgin Media 02: A​​n award-winning fibre broadband provider & telecommunications company.
  6. Brit Insurance: Brit is a leading global specialty insurer and reinsurer focused on underwriting complex risks
  7. Centrica: A family of brands, on a mission to revolutionise how we power the planet. 
  8. City & Guilds: City & Guilds is a leader in global skills development, providing services to meet the needs of today's workplace.
  9. Microsoft: Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
  10. Mondelēz International: Mondelēz International is a multinational confectionery, food and beverage company that has been making treats in the UK for nearly two hundred years.

If you're struggling with your mental health and need more guidance and support, remember that you're not alone. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or colleagues for support. Additionally, here are some professional resources available to provide help and guidance.