Adapting to Working From Home

Our world changed in March when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK and world. Where we worked and how we worked changed, for many of us our sofas and spare bedrooms became our new workplaces.

Working from home has brought its own challenges and it seems that this way of working may be around to stay. With some workplaces we've been talking to saying how it's become easier to be less active during this period, how we fit moving more into our working day becomes even more important.

So what are the things we can do to increase our activity levels and reduce the time we sit at our desks, kitchen tables or sofas? As with Active Workplaces in the office, factory or shop floor it's about the simple things we can do in our homes or outdoors that can help achieve 30 minutes of activity a day.

Every Mind Matters talks about the importance of these 7 simple steps to wellness while working from home.

  • Establish your own routine - This can be done by following some of the tips in our Live Well Day.
  • Make a dedicate workplace - If you can, find a quiet space away from other people and distractions.
  • Give yourself a break - The use of local parks and outdoor spaces is a great way to get away from your desk or you could try a quick 10 minute home workout.
  • Stay connected - Talking to other people really matters and this can be done on the move by going on a short walk during your phone calls
  • Set Boundaries - As with routine its good to set boundaries within the time you work but also with people you share the house with and when you will need quiet time.
  • Start thinking longer term - Working from home might be around for a while yet and may in some case be the new normal. So think about your home and the different spaces to work from such as the garden when the weather is good.
  • Be kind to yourself - Understand that this is different and you may not be as productive as normal. Be realistic and take time to relax during the day when your work is done, another great opportunity to be active.

The WFH Live Well Day

Many experts have spoken about the need to keep routine while working from home and keeping it as close to any other working day as you can.

The Active Workplace Toolkit includes The Live Well Day, but now many of us are working from home this will look different but it's still important we create a routine that keeps us moving to support our wellbeing. We've come up with a routine below that can help you look after your wellbeing whilst working from home.

7.00am - Time to get get up after 7 - 8 hours of quality sleep.

7.30am - Get moving! The #KeepGMMoving webpages have loads of ideas of things to do both at home, such as apps or YouTube videos, and outdoors helping you get walking, cycling or running

8.00am - Get ready for the day; shower, coffee, breakfast.

9.00am - Sit down at your new 'office' desk at home, refreshed and ready for a productive day.

10.30am - 10 minutes of stretches at your desk or go for a walk around the house taking the stairs if you have them.

12.30pm - It's lunchtime, sit down with your family or housemates (your current new workmates) for lunch. If you live alone, you could FaceTime a friend or family member and eat lunch together virtually.

1.00pm - Back to work after a lunchtime of good food and chat.

2.30pm - Time for another 10 minute activity session, maybe a game in the back garden or set yourself a challenge such as how many kick ups can you do in a row, the choice is yours but be creative and have fun!

5.00pm - It's the end of the day, now could be a good time to go for a relaxing walk, respecting social distancing or a home workout session.

6.00pm - It's tea time and your time to relax after a busy day in the office.

20 Minute Neighbourhoods

How can we try and make working from home more like being at our place of work? Where are the places around us that can support us to still be active during the working day, that can replicate the places we visit while at our places of work?

20 minute neighbourhoods is about the places around us that are within a 20 minute walk or cycle which can help with our physical and mental wellbeing. For example if you used to walk to the shop on your lunch break, can you do this with your local shops at home? Another way is to use your local green (grass) and blue (water) space for walking meetings while on the phone to colleagues, clients and customers.

Below are just a few examples of how we can use the spaces around us to move more.

Green Spaces 

Exploring local parks, fields and woods can be a great way to spend your lunchtime, especially if the whether is good. Getting outside of your house while respecting the guidance on social distancing can really help to refresh us ready for the rest of the day and make us more productive.

  • Walking meetings and one to one meetings while on the phone.
  • Quiet time away from your screen and phone to refresh and recharge.
  • Mindfulness, mental wellbeing and time to reflect.
Crossford Bridge Playing Fields in Sale.

Blue Spaces

Around Greater Manchester there are plenty of lakes, canals and rivers with safe walking and cycling space around them. As with Green Spaces they can be incorporated into your day in a variety of ways that can enable you to feel great and work better.

  • Being around water has been proven to be good for our health, body and mind.
  • Exercising and being near water can be a great way to deal with stress and anxiety.
  • Living near blue space has been proven to increase physical activity levels.

Local Town Centres and Villages 

Did you used to walk to the local shops to get your lunchtime sandwich or coffee in the morning? Perhaps you can build these habits back into your working day with your local shops, maybe even working from the local coffee shop for part of your day. Rather than driving to it plan a walking route to it that maybe takes in some green or blue space on the way.

  • A lunchtime walk to the shops for a sandwich or to pick up some shopping.
  • Have a change of location and base yourself in a coworking space, coffee shop or cafe.
  • Learn something new about your surroundings, find out about points of interest, buildings or historical places and go and visit them.
Town Centre

Sports Clubs and Leisure Centres

Local Sports Clubs and Leisure Centres offer a great way to get a change of scenery and fit some activity into our days. Sports Clubs and Leisure Centres are looking at different ways to encourage people working from home to use their facilities, either by offering a different workspace, somewhere to eat lunch or take part in some sports and activities.

Sports Clubs

Our local sports clubs provide many services as they look to adjust to the Covid 19 pandemic. Where as before clubs were just for sport, many are now offering working space, food and other activities as they look to support their local community all within the government guidelines. Check out your local club and see what they are offering to help support you while working from home.

Leisure Centres

There are 87 leisure and sports facilities across Greater Manchester operated by 12 leisure and community operators. These facilities offer tradition sport and club provision such as swimming, gyms and activity sessions and now also specific interventions to combat health conditions and community development programmes. Your local leisure centre could provide a welcome break from working from home and include some activity into your day.

The GM Daily Mile

GM Walking Daily mile logo landscape colour

While working from home, walking is a great and simple way to keep moving. The GM Daily Mile Workplace Toolkit is bursting with tips, tools and motivational ideas to help employers and employees do their mile a day.

The Toolkit, developed by GM Walking in collaboration with local employers, is an exciting next step toward Greater Manchester’s ambition to be world’s first Daily Mile City-Region. Following January’s milestone achievement of 500 primary schools signed up to The Daily Mile, the creation of this toolkit now aims to grow The GM Daily Mile even further; taking it into homes, communities and workplaces across the city-region.

For more information, help and advice visit the The GM Daily Mile Toolkit.

Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing

The added pressures of working from home, such as childcare or loneliness, can take a toll on your mental wellbeing. The NHS have produced the Five Steps to wellbeing to support us all to take better care of our mental wellbeing.

Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

1. Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:

  • Help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth.
  • Give you an opportunity to share positive experiences.
  • Provide emotional support and allow you to support others.

2. Be physically active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Raising your self-esteem.
  • Helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them.
  • Causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood.

3. Learn new skills

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem.
  • Helping you to build a sense of purpose.
  • Helping you to connect with others.

4. Give to others

Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Creating positive feelings and a sense of reward.
  • Giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth.
  • Helping you connect with other people.

5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.


You can read more about the Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing on the NHS UK Website along with some Do's and Don'ts to help achieve the five steps.