Dear homeworkers (and those with kids at home)

Jane Piper, Organisational Psychologist, author of Focus in the Age of Distraction, shares two excellent short videos:



If you’re working from home, here are a few points to help you, which I recently shared with our homeworkers and parents working from home, which came fully endorsed by our St Monica Trust Chief Executive, David Williams. I hope you find them helpful too!

· Things might take a bit longer than normal when you’re working from home. That’s because we’re relying more on emails and remote contact between colleagues and external contacts who also have a range of conflicting priorities. Try to have Zoom meetings or a phone call with the colleagues you work closest with every day to ensure you’re all clear about what tasks are priority. Recap what you’ve agreed at the end of the meeting.

· It’s not easy working from home. You can feel more distanced from things going on in your usual workplace. Keep in touch, offer and show support whenever you can. Talk about this point in your next team catch up. Get anything you’re unclear of out into the open.

· You are still contributing. Working from home is in no way seen as ‘dipping out’. Your role is as important now as it ever has been. Keep a list to see how much you’re achieving day to day.

· Many of us feel a sense of identity at work — we have a clear role, friends, shared experiences and stories. Try not to let those relationships slip. Contact someone you often see at work but aren’t having contact with while you’re working from home. Just a quick ‘hello’ by email or a phone call will make you (and them) feel more connected. This is particularly important for anyone who lives alone, because a feeling of loneliness can be very harmful to your health and well-being. If we all reach out to one another, people will feel less alone.

This article from The Guardian will help you to organise your home-work space.

The Guardian, 22 April 2020

· According to Forbes, “burn out” can occur for home-workers because “you feel compelled to work longer hours and prove you can be productive from home — especially if you can’t get out and about to relax, go to the gym, meet up with friends etc. Try to look after your well-being by creating a comfortable and private place in your home to work, if possible. Try and set up a routine, including exercise breaks and social interaction and turn off email notifications before and after working hours to keep things feeling a bit more normal.” It’s ok to switch off, see here for details about using your LG work phone for well-being, and it’s ok to take your lunch away from your desk!

· Our homes will vary in size and space available, your safety is paramount. You may need to speak to your H&S team for support to keep you well and safe at home.

Desk Stretches

It’s important to move from time to time whilst sat at a screen, especially if you are perhaps working from home with a temporary workstation. You may not have the supportive set up that you might have in the office and so your neck, shoulders and back might be suffering as a result. Of course at St Monica Trust, we are consulting with home workers to assess the health and safety of individual home-working set ups, but you might find these stretches help. They are specially designed for you to do wherever you’re sitting at your computer.

· The CIPD has published some helpful tips on remote working, from getting dressed to writing a daily to do list. Click here.

· If you are living in a situation which isn’t helpful to your well-being, there are support networks that can help you. Visit our well-being website for some signposting, for example in relation to domestic abuse, bereavement etc. If you feel comfortable, share your concerns with your line manager or HR team, who may also be able to help and support you.

· Of course, working from home doesn’t exclude you from infection control procedures, see below for a lovely video from our training team’s kids.

Here is a helpful resource from Planet Mark (added 24 April 20), which is described by the organisation as:

“Our Home Worker Package is designed to help engage technology and nature to tackle our shared obstacles, bring us closer together and help us come out stronger the other side. It won’t solve all your problems, but we hope it can make it easier for you to transition to a practical and safer way to adjust to your ‘new normal’.”

Stuart Malkin
CEO Planet Mark

Parents at home:

You will know better than anyone what works for your children, and linked here are some creative ideas.

Here’s what various celebrities are offering you and your kids for free daily to help with their education while schools are closed:

9.00am — PE with Joe Wicks 

10.00am — Maths with Carol Vorderman (Free for 21 days)

11am –  Reading:

12.00pm — Lunch 

1.00pm — Music

1.30pm — Dance with Oti Mabuse

2.00pm — History with Dan Snow (free for 30-days)

3.00pm — Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri)

Tips shared by some of our St Monica Trust colleagues on working from home with children:

· Don’t make the office area out-of-bounds for the little ones: “Blurring boundaries has removed any intrigue in their minds… no feelings of “oh I know something interesting goes on in there””

· Pre-planning activities for a day helps with toddlers.

· Having some sort of daily routine is helpful for all ages of children.

· Keep children occupied with crafts, maths, letters/words… and the “gamification of everything”.

· Managers are thanked for their flexible arrangements, for example, enabling colleagues to start work earlier than normal and anticipating breaks during the day to support with childcare.

· Having more time together as a family is rewarding for our colleagues, despite its obvious challenges. Families are reminded to take a meal together and “spend going for walks, painting, Skyping grandparents and walking”. “I’m all for using the flexibility to try enjoy little moments with your kids that you might have otherwise missed.”

· Those with a partner at home have found that splitting chores equally is beneficial for everyone.

· This comment may resonate with those of you with older children “I’m amazed at the resilience of my kids… they are finding things to do, asking to play games with us, baking etc. “

· For the bookworms, Apple books (via the app) and Audible (audio books via Amazon) are currently offering free access to books.

If you have any hints and tips to help other home-workers or parents at home, please do not hesitate to share them with to share with the wider team.