Work has changed dramatically during 2020. The coronavirus pandemic means that those who can work remotely should do so to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, changing our practices to working from home instead of the office. For many of us, it can be a challenge because we are social creatures and used to seeing our colleagues, collaborating in-person and taking the tea round in turns. So this new way of working can feel remote and distant.

It’s easy to overlook simple things when home working, like sitting in once place for extended periods or working extra hours. We have to be a little more flexible with time and make more of an effort to move our bodies. Here are five tips to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing while working from home.

Make room for shorter meetings.

Schedule 45-minute meetings instead of an hour to allow everyone to take a break. You can use this time to stretch and get a coffee in between meetings.

Stay within the 9 – 5 work window.

It might be tempting to just fit people in before or after your busy workday, but try not to schedule your virtual meetings before 9am or after 5pm.

Everyone needs a breather.

Avoid back-to-back meetings. You may not realise it at the time but being in a series of sequential meetings is tiring, impacting on your productivity and contributing to increased stress.

Go outside for a change of scenery.

It’s easy to sit in front of your laptop and keep going because you’re at home, but it’s important to make more of an effort to get outside. Get some fresh air and exercise during daylight hours, i.e. before work or at lunchtime.

Try not to sit at your desk all day.

Sitting at your desk for long uninterrupted periods is harmful to your health and is linked with several health issues like deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins. Even if you are comfortable, sitting can put pressure on your back muscles, neck and spine. Add more movement into your working day – stand up regularly, stretch and walk around. Sometimes it may be better to do a walking phone call rather than a virtual meeting.