COVID - 19 Adapting to New Ways of Working

4/2/2020

As we’re all aware from the endless media coverage, HM Government are increasing their efforts to stop the spread of the COVID – 19 including reasons why a person may leave their home e.g. 

  • Shopping (expect for necessities & must be as infrequently as possible) 
  • One form of exercise a day  
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person 
  • Travelling to and from work only when necessary and . . . the role cannot be done from home.  

 These requirements have been introduced through the Health Requirements Regulations of 2020 have been reinforced by the Coronavirus Act 2020. The rules go beyond the previous guidance of ‘Social Distancing’ citing: 

  • working from home where possible 
  • avoiding busy commuting times on public transport 
  • avoiding gatherings of people, whether in public, at work or at home.  

As such many of our members are now working from home. Whilst this mitigates the likelihood of contracting COVID -19, it can have a negative impact on your mental health. As such, we strongly recommend you follow the recommendations provided by Oscar Kilo:  

  • Waking up: 
    • Although you may have some extra time in bed without a commute, aim to wake up around the same time every day. This helps stabilise your internal clock and improve your sleep overall. You’ll feel less tired, more refreshed, and find it easier to concentrate throughout the day. 
  • Planning You Day: 
    • If you are not used to home working, you need to have a clear schedule for the day ahead. When you physically go into your normal workspace, the day is very much scheduled for you already, but when you are at home you must do this yourself. However, make your schedule as flexible as possible. For instance, it might be that due to childcare duties you might have to do some of your work in the evening once the kids are in bed. This is fine, if you plan this in advance and tell your family what you are doing. 
  • Getting Ready: 
    • Keep to your established morning routine if you can – get ready, washed, and dressed as if you are going to the office. This will help you get into the mindset that you are at work. 
  • Setting up your workspace: 
    • Try to set aside a work area separate from your sleeping area, as this will help to prepare you for work mode and make it easier to switch off at the end of the day. You don’t need a home office to do this – a small desk set up in a corner of your room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table can do the trick.  
       
    • If you’re working with a small space, you could try setting up temporary ‘zones’ by hanging blankets or screens to visually separate your work area from your bed or living area. Clear your work surface of clutter and set up your equipment to avoid physical strain.  
    • A self-assessment can be completed at nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly. If you don’t have a chair with back support, you could add a firm pillow.  
  • Exercise: 
    • When you are going to work in an office you might walk to the train station or bus stop, but when you are at home this discipline disappears which is why you must make time in your day for exercise, especially at lunchtime. It comes back to scheduling. 
       
    • Get out of the house, go for a walk, get some fresh air but be extremely careful as to select a route that will reduce your likelihood of interacting with others. Ensure you adhere to the Social Distancing guidelines.

It remains important that NCOA members keep the agency updated on their status, including whether they have COVID-19 symptoms and are self-isolating or unable to come into a workplace owing to household isolation. You will be aware that COVID-19 sickness does not form part of agency sickness time considerations’ 

Useful guidance: 

Oscar Kilo - https://oscarkilo.org.uk/category/covid-19-coronavirus-hub/ 

Mental Health First Aid England - https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/news/coronavirus-updates/ 

During COVID-19 there may be occasions when the office 01925 214360 is unmanned. Any non-urgent enquiries can be left by voicemail but if the matter is urgent, please see the below list of contact numbers