A “perfect storm” of mental health stresses is being created with lockdowns, economic anxiety, enforced social distancing, poor weather and isolation – meaning millions of home workers will suffer in silence this Winter.

The UK is possibly facing its biggest ever mental health crisis since the WWII this Winter as a combination of many factors will contribute to the low mood and poor mental health of millions of employees working from home.

According to the ONS (Office of National Statistics) 69% of adults in the UK are staying that Coronavirus is having a negative effect on their life and the drill down statistics are even worse:
63% are worrying about the future
56% are feeling stressed or anxious
49% are bored

“The worrying thing is everyone is in the same boat – we are so busy fighting our own fires – many of us don’t have the time or energy to help others”, says Jonathan Ratcliffe from office company Offices.co.uk, “people are having a rotten time of it at the moment, and this Winter will be a real crunch point for many”.

Critical stress factors this Winter include:
Lockdowns – working from home and seeing less family/friends mean increasingly isolated lives

Uncertainty – Worries over employment and the economy creating a feeling of anxiousness

Poor Weather – Less daylight, poor weather means less opportunity to leave the house for fresh air and exercise

“The big worry for myself and my colleagues is either a new National lockdown, or the schools will close, because this will tip the balance for many people working from home and just managing to keep things on an even keel”, says Jonathan Ratcliffe
Offices.co.uk offers these general pointers to those working from home and feeling the pressure:

Routine – it’s vital if you want to be motivated that you set a routine. Make sure you get up at a decent time and start work at 9am.
To do list – Start by writing a small list of work to achieve, lower your expectations and work towards ticking all those goals even if they are small.
Talk to someone – If you have a work buddy, you’d usually chew the fat with, why change? Give them a call, maybe first thing – helps you both realise you are not alone.
Food and drink – Make sure you eat properly and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Fresh air – At lunch time take a walk or sit outside, put your phone down, look around and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Finish at 5 – Don’t be tempted to work into the evening, try and finish up around the same time as you would normally.
Put the phone down – After “work” is over, try to forget about it. Enjoy time with a partner or family.
Wine O’clock – It’s tempting to hit the wine each night, we’re under stress. But you didn’t booze like this before, time to reduce intake and get a good sleep.
Sleep – Decent bedtime and try and get 8 hours solid sleep if possible.
Plan for the other side – This will end, we simply don’t know when yet, and when it does you need to be in the best shape possible to seize any opportunities. Get planning!

“Bosses need to be very aware that their remote staff might be struggling, and while they have their own pressures, they need to reach out and monitor staff daily to make sure any issues can be addressed – being sensitive and caring is upmost for employers this Winter period”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

Read more on mental health in the next issue of Pathfinder International magazine for World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2020.

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