Looking After Your Wellbeing While Working From Home

Wellbeing By Matthew Coombes

Working from home existed well before the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many people working fully remotely has always been the way that they work, and in some cases, the way that they are expected to work.

Many organisations who have not previously used hybrid working or working from home have held onto the policies, procedures and practices which they implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and hybrid working arrangements have been widely adopted across the world as a means to bring in an improved work life balance.

Additionally, many organisations have fully opened up to remote working and task-based assessment of working practices, employing workers who are working remotely from far away and even in other countries.

How can you look after your wellbeing while working from home?

Work/Life divide

Work/life divide means the balance between the time and effort spent at work, and the time and effort spent in your personal life. When working remotely, this often causes a change in the work/life balance in comparison to the typical 8-hour work day.

Some people struggle if they are using a space that they typically use for leisure as their working environment. It can feel like you’re always at work, or you can feel work-related anxiety or pressure to work for longer.

Inversely, it may be harder to ‘get your head in the game’ because you’re trying to work in a busy household, or in a room that you use for relaxing and leisure.
If this is the case, it is important to consider your work “start-up” and “shutdown” procedures.

By using a set process/procedure to start work in the morning, you can help to train your brain to divide work time and home time. What this may mean is keeping to the same routine, getting up at the same time as you would to go to the workplace, dressing as you would if going to work, and sticking to the same behaviours that you have on site, such as having some breakfast and a coffee before starting, if that’s what you would normally do.


Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can alleviate stress and be beneficial to our physical health including having a significant improvement on our cardiovascular system. This can set us up for the day and help to shake off fatigue.

Depending on the work you do, and your working arrangements, fitting exercise in before work or during the work day can be very beneficial to your health and improve your productivity. Additionally, if you’ve ‘saved time’ by not having to commute to the workplace, you may be able to make more time for exercise in your person life, such as before or after work.

Similarly, any time that you can afford to spend on creating or planning healthy food will be a benefit to your health.

Clear communication

One of the pillars of wellbeing is the interaction that we have with our colleagues and in our personal lives. Positive social interactions and a positive working relationship with your colleagues can improve productivity, improve communication clarity and efficiency and be a positive factor in our overall social interactions.

When working remotely it can help your workplace relationships to quickly catch up with a colleague before launching into a work-related conversation. This can help to ‘break the ice’ before communication relating to tasks and keep the interaction more positive.

However, sometimes your communication may be out of your control. A sign of a good manager is that they provide timely, clear and useful support and communication to you and this applies to working from home. It may be that what improves your wellbeing is a better line of communication from your manager. If this is the case, try suggesting another means of communication such as, if you only use phone calls, try a video call, or meet face-to-face at an appropriate frequency.

Avoid isolation

Working from home can sometimes mean working alone for the majority of the day. While this can be of great benefit to some people, or for some types of work, it’s can become isolating for those that value social interaction, or who have less access to social interaction outside of working hours.

Some popular strategies for reducing isolation while working from home are:

  • Video calling for appropriate tasks rather than phone calling
  • Listening to the radio
  • Listening to music
  • Spending time in social situations after work

Appreciate nature

Apologies in advance to anyone who this doesn’t apply to, I’m acutely aware that not everyone has a fantastic working from home office with all the bells and whistles looking out over vast acres of green fields…

But it’s worth mentioning that just 15 minutes of looking at nature, plant life, and wildlife is enough to reduce our stress levels. If you’ve got a garden, indoor plants or pets make sure that you spend some time looking after them or engaging with them. Whether that’s a quick breather between tasks to wistfully look out of the window, fuss your pet, or some time to give that much neglected house plant a bit of TLC.

This type of action can be positive for our mental wellbeing and result in a clear head to get back to work.

If occupational wellbeing is a topic that interests you, we have an excellent e-learning course available – NEBOSH Working with Wellbeing e-learning is accredited and certified by the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).

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