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  • Kat Hounsell

COVID-19 Series: Healthy Homeworking

“This is not homeworking. This is being at home and doing your best to work during a global pandemic.”

We now find ourselves in our 8th + week since Boris Johnson announced the UK lockdown. It’s likely that, by now, those who are continuing to work from home have found ourselves in a new routine of healthy (and unhealthy!) habits.

With the reality of home and flexible working likely to continue, and perhaps it will be a long-term change for some of us, this a good time to press pause and consider a new dimension for our wellbeing – our environmental wellness.

The term environment often conjures up images of the great outdoors, however it also incorporates the great indoors too, our virtual environment, and most importantly our boundaries.

What are the boundaries you set around your work environment?

  • Physical boundaries – Creating a dedicated workspace, or perhaps allocating a cupboard to shut away the phone/laptop at the end of the day

  • Time boundaries – Navigating with those you live with when the workday starts and ends, respecting the time boundaries of colleagues, and requesting the same respect back

  • Virtual boundaries – Limiting video-calls each day, reducing the number of internet browser tabs open at any one time, and keeping an eye on the hours spent on emails or social media

  • Wellbeing boundaries – Regular breaks, and engaging in the everyday actions that will help you thrive (please link to last blog)

Spend a few minutes thinking about the categories above. What’s working well for you? What may need to change?

When others can’t see us, and only have a 2D/Zoom/Teams perspective on our environment, they may not anticipate what’s working for us and what’s not. We each need to take accountability for our own wellbeing and boundaries. Make the changes you’re in control of and speak to those who are adversely affecting your ways of working – whether that’s family, a colleague or your line manager.

Boundaries are all about ensuring our needs are met. But what if we could go beyond this and focus on the enjoyment of working from home.

If you’re starting to get aches and pains from a dodgy desk set up, fix that foundation first. This article from posture people has a step-by-step checklist to ensure you have a healthy workstation ready to go. Your employer has a duty of care to ensure you can do your work safely both physically and psychologically, and this includes having the right equipment – if you’re feeling unequipped it’s not too late to speak to your line manager.

Now let’s think about thriving!

Having worked from home to a greater or lesser extent over the past 6 years, these are the tried and tested practices I use to keep myself engaged and bring variety into the working week:

  1. Start or end each day with a short breathing exercise

  2. Change scene whenever I feel 'stuck' ... this usually involves taking a notepad & pen to the sofa and reflecting on an important task

  3. Get outside for a walk during daylight hours (also ensures I get dressed!)

  4. Connect with a work contact I’ve not spoken to for a while – by phone if possible

  5. Keep my workspace enjoyable to be in – tidy, put up photos, leave myself Post-It notes of encouragement (I know this is cheesy, but it works!)

What are 5 practices that will keep you healthy when home-working?

Taking the time to look after our environmental wellbeing won’t just help us feel better, it helps us perform better too.

Finding life difficult? You’re #NotAlone. Read here for where to access professional support.


This article was originally written for The Drinks Trust as part of their COVID-19 updates. If you haven't heard of this wonderful charity then do pay their website a visit and see how you can support, or be supported, as a member of the drinks and hospitality industry.

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