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Please see article below from Aviva which is a guide to taking control of your wellbeing in remote working environments – received 02/09/2020.

Remote Control – Take control of your wellbeing in remote working environments

This short guide gives practical advice, helpful guidance and support to anyone working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Social interaction increases the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as it passes from person to person, by touch and through droplets in the air. Social distancing can dramatically slow the spread. That’s why working remotely for many businesses has become essential, in locations that are very different from normal working environments.

Staying in control, maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing can be a high challenge in these extraordinary circumstances. That’s why we’ve published this easy-to-read guide of practical tips and guidance. Life is difficult enough right now, so we’ve kept things as light and breezy as they can be. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay connected. We’ll get through this together’

Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director, Aviva UK Health and Protection

Mental Wellbeing – Some Top Tips

Stay connected and keep talking

The key message is: don’t suffer in silence. The more open everyone is about their mental health – whether they’re doing ok or struggling a bit – the better things will become. One of the most important things you can do at times like this is to talk to people and share how you are feeling. Connect with your colleagues or your manager (and if you’re a manager, don’t forget this applies to you too) and explain how changes, work allocation or the situation is making you feel.

Use wellbeing apps

There are many apps you can use to support your mental wellbeing, to help with mindfulness, meditation and overall mental wellbeing.

It’s essential to select the best app for the task, and that’s where NHS Digital steps in. Although health apps are not supplied by the NHS, it’s widely accepted that the NHS Digital’s Apps Library is the ‘go to’ place for reliable, objective information. It’s here you’ll find trusted mental health and wellbeing apps that have been assessed using rigorous standards. And when an app is improved or modified, it is reassessed.

Change where you work in your home

Don’t work with your laptop facing a blank wall! Your connection with the outside world begins with what you can see outside, just above your screen. It might be a back garden, it could be rooftops, it might be a not-so-busy street, but it’s your physical window on the world. So where do you work in your home? Each home is different, but what you should look for is known as a ‘command position’ that puts you in control. It’s a concept from Feng Shui, the ancient philosophy of living in harmony with your immediate environment. Basically, choose a position in the room that you work in that is furthest from the door and that also enables you to look out of a window. You’ll feel better for it. And in a time of crisis, empowerment starts here. Try it!

Control your intake of negative news

Your home is your castle. And as you work from home, you might feel as if its walls are under siege conditions. With social media and new technology enabling a 24/7 news feed, we’re experiencing constant updates on coronavirus. While some information is useful, too much immersion to this type of news can fuel alarm and tension. As we piece together the progress of COVID-19, the result of being plugged-in to a relentless news cycle can generate negativity, fear and anxiety. In short, if you feel bad about being isolated, the news will make you feel worse.

There’s a simple answer to this: prioritise your mental health and switch off. A bombardment of negative news needs a cut-off point, and you can limit your input just as you’d do for children and screen time. Rolling news isn’t necessarily the most accurate. Take a deep breath and catch up with it tomorrow when the facts are known.

Physical Wellbeing – Some Top Tips

Keep in shape as best you can

Whether you are physically distancing yourself from others, and/or in self-quarantine, you still need to maintain your physical wellbeing. You might not be able to go to your usual classes, gym or exercise activity, but don’t stop all kinds of exercise.

Do something different to get the heart rate going – it could be a skipping rope session, football kick-about or star jumps in the garden or back yard, or inside if you can’t go outside. Go for a walk or a run around the block (not getting too close to anyone else). Fresh air is still very important.

Why not use YouTube or those old exercise DVDs to do a workout? Remember the Wii Fit or Dance Mat? Is it gathering dust in the back of a wardrobe somewhere?

How the pandemic might affect your sleep and how to stay in control.

Have you been having broken or disrupted sleep? Vivid dreams or nightmares?

It’s understandable and you’re not alone.

With such unexpected, unprecedented changes, how you sleep is so incredibly important. It plays a critical role in your physical health and an effective functioning immune system. Quality sleep is also a huge contributor in emotional responses, physical and mental health, helping deter the onset of stress, depression, or anxiety. Whether you’ve had sleeping problems before COVID-19 or if they’ve only come on recently, there are steps that you can take to try to improve your sleep.

Team working at a distance

You can’t support the wellbeing of others if you don’t look after yourself To stay well, you need to consider your physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing – and there’s lots of support and advice available for everyone. Take a proper lunch break, get outside if you can (keeping your distance from others), practice mindfulness and make digital connections via social media and video chats. By doing these things to support your own wellbeing, and telling your colleagues about them, it can support everyone’s wellbeing.

Don’t let the fact that you and your team might be working remotely mean that it creates an ‘always on’ culture. Create working times to suit you and your colleagues, and stick to them. Perhaps create a routine that symbolises the end of your working day. Rest and recharging (physically and mentally) is really important to your wellbeing. If you are a manager and supporting your team, then you need to look after yourself too, giving yourself time to deal with the issues you yourself are facing.

How to lead virtual meetings

Establish virtual meeting principles with your team

• Does every meeting need an agenda?
• How often do we meet and when?
• How do we hear the voices of everyone?

Create a safe environment

By creating a few ground rules on how we interact with one another, such as not interrupting each other, accepting all ideas equally and not being judged, ‘out of the box’ suggestions are encouraged and listened to. Be a brilliant virtual meeting host

• Try and get familiar with the technology you are using.
• Bring energy and purpose to your gatherings, be ready to be flexible and adapt to the needs of the participants.
• Try and be the first in the room so you can meet and greet your participants.
• Consider adjusting start times to allow for things like comfort breaks and give the host space to be prepared and ready to go.

Keep the participants engaged

• Avoid the temptation to dive straight into business, a few moments of friendly chat before a meeting lightens the mood and strengthens the bonds of the group.
• Embrace check in’s and check out’s. Encourage everyone to contribute from the start.
• Listen out for the silence. Some characters are naturally more vocal and confident in these conditions than others. Invite contributions so everyone gets a say.
• Consider catching up 1-1 with anyone who appears to be struggling to contribute and establish a way that works for them and allows them to maintain a sense of belonging.

Following on from the Aviva – Looking after your mental health and wellbeing blog we posted last week (04/09/2020), this is another useful guide from Aviva with regards to our wellbeing whilst working remotely from home.

Working remotely may affect everyone differently but it could be particularly difficult for those who live alone. The tips above should prove useful in maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing.

Please continue to check back for our regular blog posts and updates.

Charlotte Ennis