Working from home: A guide to creating a healthy and productive workspace at home

Girl at computer

An introduction to remote working

Remote work is used to describe any work that doesn’t require you to travel to an office.

The term covers people who work from home, whether that’s a couple of days a week or full-time. According to the Global Workplace Survey 2019, flexible working covers this too, but includes a third feature:


Working from a different city or country


Working from home


Working with no fixed hours

You’ll often find the terms flexible and remote working used interchangeably, and companies will vary hugely in what they offer their employees. Some might allow you to work from home once a week; others might have all staff working in different cities. However you work, it’s impossible to ignore how much workplace flexibility has improved.

Around 62% of firms globally report they have a flexible working policy in place.

This guide focuses on remote workers who are based in their own home, and the unique challenges this presents. It’s become a more popular way of working as there are plenty of benefits for both employers and employees.

  • You don’t waste time or money travelling to an office.
  • You can schedule your work around family life.
  • It can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

But it’s not always easy, especially if you have to adjust from the traditional 9-5 in an office environment.

How coronavirus has affected our working routines

When the government announced we’d be going into lockdown on the 23rd March 2020, workplaces had to adjust quickly. The British public could only go out if necessary, for food, medication or exercise. Unless your job was critical to the coronavirus response or you were a critical worker, you’d be working from home for the foreseeable future.

Amidst a lot of confusion, businesses and employees needed to adapt quickly to carry on working and provide the same services as before. For many, working from home was completely new. But it was to be the norm for a while as lockdown required us to stay home.

It wasn’t until 10th May that some measures would begin to be lifted in England, allowing those who couldn’t work from home to go back to work. This included people in construction or manufacturing roles. Employees were encouraged to travel to work by driving, walking or cycling and avoid public transport where possible.

And employers were working with government advice to create safe workplaces. For example, many were urged to implement staggered working hours to reduce any risks.

As more measures were lifted, including non-essential shops opening from 15th June, more people returned to work. At the time of writing, many workers were still based in their homes. Many office or desk jobs just don’t require people to work from an office, so it’s been safer for them to stay at home for as long as possible.

Throughout the pandemic, it’s been clear a return to normal will be slow. Many people are hoping there could be permanent changes in the way we work.

In one poll of 1,000 UK employees working from home because of the pandemic (but who aren’t typically allowed to or do so no more than once per week on average):

feel they are either more productive or equally productive from home.
said their work-life balance had become easier.

Jan Schwarz, co-founder of Visier, the company behind the survey, said:

COVID-19 had prompted the world’s “biggest home working experiment”.

There’s a lot to be positive about with how companies who are new to remote working have handled the change. Considering how quick the transformation had to be, and the technological and cultural challenges, many businesses deserve credit for their adaptability under the pressure. But all of this makes the following stats more surprising:

said their employer would revert to previous policies and ditch widespread remote working once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
said they don’t think their employer would go back to inflexible working.

Of course, it’s great to be optimistic about remote working being here to stay. The pandemic will have impacted the way we think about work in the years to come. But there’s a real possibility companies will fall back into old habits, reinforced by many respondents predicting their employers will move away from the changes created.

There are some legacy industries that might struggle with the infrastructure and logistical changes needed to handle a significant change to remote working – for example, accountancy. But there are plenty of companies, including any at the forefront of digitalisation, which can build flexibility into the way they work.

The general message is that while it’s tempting to claim flexible working will be the new normal after COVID-19, it’s not that simple. Providing all remote employees with a productive workplace is a complicated task for organisations.

After all, working from home during the coronavirus pandemic has been an experience which many employees have found stressful too.

Another survey, again of 1,000 adults usually working in an office, found:

of people felt more stressed working from home, compared with 18% who felt less stressed.
felt more anxious working from home, compared with 14% who felt less anxious.

So why do many of us find it hard?

Well, it has been a challenging time in general. Trying to work through a global pandemic brings its own stresses, but there are aspects of working from home which would be a challenge post-COVID. For example, interruptions from those you live with or getting the right work set-up. It’s an adjustment that has to be considered by both employer and employee.

A history of remote working

The idea of remote working has been around for some time. Back in the early 1970s, technological innovation meant that, for the first time, networked computers could be installed in an employee’s home.

Many claimed it would revolutionise modern businesses. It became known as teleworking and promised to:

free humanity from the grind of the daily commute, enabling an easier blend of work and family life.

Source: The Guardian

There was a lot to be excited about.

Less commuting would mean less dependence on fossil fuels. It offered new opportunities to families with young children, who could work flexibly. And some people even thought communities of home workers would breathe new life into local neighbourhoods.

But it wasn’t all positive.

There was a lot of skepticism about whether employers would just use teleworking as an excuse to cut wages and change workers’ rights. For example, teleworkers were often hired as self-employed contractors, which meant employers didn’t have to pay for pensions, sick pay or maternity leave.

Some companies tried to avoid these practices being called into question with tactics such as offering loans to teleworkers for the purchase of computers. It’s little surprise that some claim these early forms of non-standard employment played a part in fostering the problems with our present-day gig economy.

There was also the problem with many managers that still exists today. There were many who adopted teleworking reluctantly, and it showed in how they treated teleworkers. As managers couldn’t directly supervise employees, they tended to focus on ‘deliverables’. Workers got paid based on their results and the privilege of teleworking was only given to people who were the right fit. The criteria for judging that was pretty obscure.

It was something of a rocky start for remote working. Decades later, it’s still a mixed bag. As technology and understanding improved, some companies continued to explore the potential of having staff at home. Many workers took it upon themselves to create a schedule that worked for them, going freelance or setting up as self-employed to be in control of their working routine.

While you do hear about companies with loads of flexibility and employee perks such as unlimited holiday, it’s not the norm for everyone. But times are changing. Whether you agree that COVID-19 has been a driving force or not, there’s a lot to be excited about.

The benefits of working remotely

For employees

So what’s the great appeal about working from home?

What's the biggest benefit you see to working remotely?

pie chart showing benefits to working remotely

Source: State of Remote Work 2020

It’s little surprise that for most people, it’s control over their own schedule, potentially giving them more free time to do what they want – including spending time with family.

What’s more, with an average daily commute of

59 minutes

in the UK, remote workers have the chance to claw back even more time.

of those working from home during the coronavirus pandemic believed it was reducing their outgoings.

according to this survey

The average employed worker was saving


a week by not having to pay for things like travel or lunches out.

The perks of remote or flexible working might be different for everyone. For example, someone with a family may choose to start work earlier and finish in time to do the school run. Someone else may use the time to hit the gym when it’s quieter. But there are some common themes for everyone – remote working can save you time and money, which opens up other opportunities.

For employers

It’s not only employees who benefit from remote working.
Here are just some of the benefits for employers:

Retaining staff icon

Attracting and retaining staff

Employees are increasingly favouring companies that offer flexibility of some kind over those who don’t. In fact, 77% of global businesses say flexible working makes them more successful because they keep employees longer, and attract the top talent. It’s a competitive advantage.

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Cost savings

There’s a reduction in both on-site technology spend and office costs if most of your employees are at home. If a business goes fully remote, they save on things like electricity, equipment, internet access and even furniture. Although some investment will need to be made to make sure the team can work effectively, it’ll be significantly lower than most office overheads.

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Wider benefits to society

Reputation is everything in business and there’s a lot that can be said about those who embrace flexible working. Their energy usage and carbon emissions (from people driving to work) could be dramatically reduced.

Overcoming common misconceptions

Some people still remain sceptical of remote working.

You can say all you like about money saved, or increased staff motivation, but it’s hard to shift some people’s preference for a traditional working style. There seems to be some insistence on presenteeism, where someone should be at their place of work to confirm they’re doing their job. It all seems to stem from insecurities from suspicious managers.

We’re so used to judging what people are doing by simply counting bums in seats, rather than output, that remote working can seem a bit daunting – for both employees and employers. After all, who wants their boss checking in on them all the time? It’s not a nice feeling.

Indeed, trust is one of the biggest things holding the wider adoption of remote work back. But just because someone is in an office and their manager can see them, it doesn’t mean they’re working effectively. Micromanaging has never worked. You’re much better judging what someone has been up to by their results, not their presence, and that can be seen from wherever they are.

But it also manifests in employees, who even put aside their mental and physical health to attend work, one study showed.

Empowering employees to deliver, rather than controlling them with location and hours, can actually improve productivity.

Numerous studies and surveys have proved this. For example:

Home workers tend to work additional hours

Research from Cardiff University showed:

of workers put in more effort when they're working from home.
will work additional hours to get their tasks done.

This is compared to only 24% who will do the same in fixed workplaces.

Business results confirm productivity

In a US survey, businesses confirmed that remote work not only made their employees happier and healthier, but it improved productivity.

Of the businesses asked:

confirmed that productivity has increased because of greater flexibility.
reported at least a 21% improvement in productivity.

Home workers believe they are more productive

When respondents were asked in another survey,

said they would be more productive in a home office.
said probably about the same productivity.

Only 3% said they would be less productive.

And it shows in people’s choices too.

head home when they need to get something done for work.

Other people do go to the office, but not many out of choice:

would go to the office during regular hours, because it’s not an option to leave.
would go to the office during regular hours, because it’s where they’re most productive.
would go to the office before or after regular office hours.

No stress from a commute, no distracting office politics or interruptions from colleagues. There are plenty of reasons managers should believe remote workers can be productive workers. That said, employers are responsible for creating an environment where employees can thrive. This includes clear direction and potentially performance indicators or results that are in place to show how they’re achieving.

There’s also the reality that not all industries can embrace remote working. Many industries require people to be in a working environment for the job to get done – for example, hospitality or healthcare.

Creating a productive workspace

Ideally companies need much longer than COVID-19 allowed to roll out remote working properly. Given the abruptness, everyone managed well. But it wasn’t without some struggle. You might have experienced a lack of equipment, poor internet speeds, inadequate software or a lack of cybersecurity measures. That’s largely because moving towards remote working can take months.

Just deciding to work remotely isn’t going to guarantee benefits like improved productivity and well-being. It’s a long-term adjustment, one which both employers and employees need to commit to. And at home, you’re responsible for creating a personalised setup that works for you.

Essentials of a good work setup

It wasn’t only businesses dealing with the abrupt change. For some of us, we’ve never worked from home before. We had to set up new work spaces quickly. And if you had limited space, it could be quite a tricky task – especially if you’re used to multiple screens.

While some workers already had laptops, others had to struggle to get their desktops home. Some businesses let staff take chairs or other office equipment home with them, but it was all a bit of a mad rush.

If your employer is moving towards more flexible, remote work post COVID-19, then you have time to re-think your setup and make it suitable for the longer term. An uncomfortable, poorly thought out workspace can affect productivity. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time working from a bed or sofa during lockdown, you’ll know how quickly you realise it’s not the great idea you thought it might be.

First things first, you need to designate a place to work that’s as free of distractions as possible. Depending on how much space you have, you might be able to use a spare room or you’ll have to create a dedicated zone. If you have a young family, make sure they understand as much as possible that during working hours, they shouldn’t be interrupting. Of course it’s not always as easy as that, and balancing family life and work has been one of the biggest challenges of the lockdown. But a change towards remote working in the longer term is a chance to establish a much-needed structure.

A good desk setup

Then you need to think about your desk and how it affects your posture. You might assume everyone automatically sits ‘correctly’. But it turns out sitting is a bit of an art and doing it wrong can affect all different parts of your body. Poor posture can cause repetitive strain injury (RSI), headaches or aches and pains elsewhere.

The NHS outlines the following factors as essential in how to sit at your desk correctly:

Desk setup

Adjust your chair

The best chairs for working are adjustable, so that you can move the height allowing you to use your keyboard properly. This is with your wrists and forearms straight and parallel with the floor. Your elbows sit rest by the side of your body, with a 90 degree angle at the elbow joint.


Support your back

You should also be able to adjust your chair so that it supports your lower back. You can do this by changing the back position and tilt options. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.


Have your screen at eye level

If a screen is too high or low, you’ll be bending your neck all day. Instead, your screen should be directly in front of you (roughly an arm’s length away). If you use a laptop, you can place it on a laptop stand and use a separate keyboard to achieve this.


Have the keyboard straight in front of you

When typing, you want the keyboard to be right in front of you, making sure your arms are still bent in an L-shape with your elbows at your side. You can leave a gap of around 4-6 inches at the front of your desk to rest your wrists when you’re not typing. Some people use wrist rests for extra comfort.


Rest your feet on the floor

Your feet should be flat on the floor. Some people also use a footrest if that feels comfortable. You shouldn’t cross your legs.

Other tips include:

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Avoid screen glare

Position the monitor away from reflections or pull blinds across the window.

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Make frequently used objects easy to reach

This includes your mouse.

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Avoid phone strain

Use a headset if you spend a lot of time on calls.

It’s recommended you get up and move roughly every 30 minutes.

Once you’ve mastered the sitting position, you can’t stay there too long. It’s recommended you get up and move roughly every 30 minutes. It could be a quick lap round the garden, a toilet break or making a drink. The important thing is getting up and moving around. You could also consider walking meetings if you just need to be on the phone and can do it without looking at your desktop or laptop.

The importance of routine

Creating a routine that works for you is just as important when you work from home – perhaps even more vital when compared to an office environment. It’s all too tempting to wake up and turn your laptop on without showering or even having breakfast. But you’ve barely had time to switch on. Equally, it’s just as easy for a lunchtime to run on for a couple of hours, or for people to be working late into the evening.

Of course, different people work best at different times and often flexible working patterns allow employees to suit hours that work for them. But routine is still important. When you travel to your place of work or sit with colleagues who may encourage you to take a break, it naturally creates a routine. Getting a train to the office, for example, means you’ll get up, get ready and have time on the journey for your own thoughts.

At home, you’ll have to create this routine for yourself. With a structured day, you can do that:

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Establish times for when you start and finish the working day.

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Get ready for the start of your day in the same way you would if you were going to the office – have a shower, get dressed, have breakfast and so on.

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Include a lunch break in your schedule and make sure you spend it away from your work area.

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Set yourself goals or tasks to complete each day.

tidy icon

When you are finished with the day, tidy away your work things or close the door to your working area.

outdoors icon

Try and spend some time outside, perhaps going for a walk at the end of the day.

laptop icon

Don’t be tempted to pick up your laptop or turn on your computer after you’ve finished for the day (turning off notifications on your phone can help).

To make a good routine stick, you’ve also got to communicate with your colleagues. They need to know when they can expect a response, and when you’re unavailable to speak. When you’re working from home, you need to make these timings clear. Depending on how flexible your employer is, and once your timings are agreed, use your diary to mark out key times. For example, you can block out an hour for lunch. If your timings are likely to change daily, you’ll need to figure out a way of making sure anyone who needs to contact you regularly knows how and when to get in touch.

Being constantly ‘available’ to contact is one of the main causes of stress for home workers. It can definitely blur the lines between home and work life. Where you can establish and stick to a routine, it can help set expectations for communications and allow you to create distance between when you’re at work and when you’re at home.

Keeping in touch with colleagues or clients

One of the good things about an office environment is the colleagues. We’ll get through our days a little easier with a couple of conversations. We often become friends with colleagues. Working from home can feel isolating. In fact, collaboration and communication and loneliness are the two biggest struggles for remote workers.

What's your biggest struggle with working remotely?

pie chart showing struggles with working remotely

Source: State of Remote Work 2020

Not only is spending all your work hours alone a bit lonely, it can also make certain projects harder if they require you to collaborate and you don’t have the right tools.

You’ve also got to remember that not everyone wants to work from home. The solitary environment doesn’t suit everyone. Although lockdown will have pushed even those who typically thrive in their own quiet company, there are people who would always rather be in an office. They like the social aspect of being surrounded by people.

But it turns out there could be an ideal amount of time to work remotely. The people behind the State of Remote Work Report say there is a “sweet spot” in terms of the ideal amount of remote work time that leads to the most contentment.

There's a strong correlation between people who are happy with the amount of time they work remotely, and with people who work remotely more than 75% of the time.

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The more time these workers spend working remotely, the more they tend to be content about it. The less time they spend working remotely, the more likely they are to want to do it more often.

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Source: State of Remote Work 2020

It does also suggest that being in the office for some time gives you that all-important change of scenery and social interaction. Just remember everyone is different. Talk to your employer about what suits you best.

Whatever the amount of time is that you end up spending at home, you’ll need to keep in touch with other colleagues – people who could also be in their homes, or in an office. For this, not only do you need the right tools, but it’s also about expectations. After all, at a time where there seems to be hundreds of digital products solving the problem with communication, it’s reasonable to wonder why it’s still such an issue.

But ask yourself questions such as the following, and you might see how communication with remote working can quickly go wrong.

Do you use the same tools as everyone else?

Have a quick chat to your colleagues, including those who work predominantly in an office. You might find that you’re communicating in a different way. If you’re all relying on different tools, it can be difficult.

Are response times realistic?

A lot of communication tools rely on instant messaging. Real-time tools can be problematic if you work flexible hours or you work with teams from different time zones. People can get left behind in conversations or feel guilty about missing some messages.

These are just two common communication problems remote teams face. But with the right tools and the right expectations, it’s possible for remote teams to not only keep in touch, but collaborate for great results.

In terms of tools that can work for everyone, think about using the following. You’ll need your employer to pay for some of them, but some you can just use for your own benefit.


With Slack, you can start to recreate the same in-person chat you might have in the office. You can have numerous channels for different teams or projects. You can send reminders for meetings, share files or even send a funny GIF.


Have you heard of the Pomodoro Method? It’s an approach to focus management that breaks the day into 20-minute chunks with five-minute rests. Tomatoes automates these timers and prompts you with a reminder to take a break.


There are plenty of video conferencing tools available, but the use of Zoom has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic. It can support up to 1,000 participants in a single meeting.


Have you heard of the Pomodoro Method? It’s an approach to focus management that breaks the day into 20-minute chunks with five-minute rests. Tomatoes automates these timers and prompts you with a reminder to take a break.


Of course Google is known for its file sharing management tool, Google Drive. But it has loads of helpful tools for remote teams, including the Jamboard. It lets everyone add post-it notes to a shared board, recreating a collaborative brainstorming session.


Remote teams will often need access to the same tools, so you need somewhere secure to store passwords – Dashlane does that for you.

Worldtime buddy

Want to know if it’s OK to call your colleague in another country? Or schedule a convenient meeting for several colleagues all over the world? World Time Buddy converts times easily for distributed teams.


There are also apps designed for specific departments – for example, InVision for design collaboration or GitHub for software development.


General productivity tips

We all have bad days at work. We can’t always be on the top of our game. In fact, most of us would like to make improvements to our productivity. And there are plenty of ways to do this:


When faced with a long to-do list, you don’t just start at the top. To maximise productivity, you need some sort of plan. Whether you write tasks down or have a project management tool you use, you need to think about priorities. It’s easier if all of your tasks are consolidated into a single source – rather than some on emails, some on a post-it and some on Slack.

Once you have this master list, you can assess them based on the following four actions:

> task list illustration


the task needs to be completed


the task needs to be completed


the task needs to be completed


the task needs to be completed

But just having a list of tasks doesn’t always help. One popular technique, introduced by Brian Tracy in Eat That Frog!: Get More Of The Important Things Done Today, suggests that when we’re overwhelmed with to-dos, we tend to either:

  • Overthink and procrastinate about the important things on the list – so much so we make them seem impossible or unpleasant.
  • Solve all the small annoying tasks first to get them over with.

According to Tracy, this is just treading water. Instead, his concept of eating that frog prompts you to do the hardest task on your to-do list first thing every morning – a time when most people are at their most productive. The rest of your day will be a lot more enjoyable.


One important thing you need to remember is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. This can be difficult for people who enjoy having control over every step. But if you’re too busy, you just end up being a bottleneck. Let other people do the tasks they’re capable of doing.

It’s also worth learning how to say no more often. It’s tempting to agree to additional tasks or projects, even if you have a full workload. But this just ends up in disappointment and frustration for everyone involved if you can’t deliver. Saying no is all about learning to be realistic about what you can and can’t do.


Distractions are one of the biggest time-stealers. For example, say you get 30 emails in a day. If you check your inbox every time you get an alert, that’s 30 distractions. And according to research on multitasking, it takes time and energy to switch between tasks. According to Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction at the University of California, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after an interruption. What a waste of time. To stop getting distracted, try the following:

Eliminate distractions

Don’t rely on your willpower. Mute notifications or alerts when you need to focus. There’s even a Chrome extension (Momentum) which reminds you of your focus each time you open a new browser tab. It could stop you aimlessly browsing the web when you should be working.

Don’t attend all meetings

We need to get into the habit of asking ourselves whether our presence is needed at all the meetings we attend. It can be a bit tricky if you’re not the one organising the meeting, as many businesses have a meeting culture where you must attend. But it’s something to think about if you have the opportunity to raise it.

Maintaining a work-life balance

There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance. It seems quite an elusive thing to achieve. We all know how work stresses can travel home with us, or what it’s like when home life affects our productivity at work. But it can be an even bigger challenge when your home is also your place of work.

After all, it’s where most remote workers would prefer to be. The State of Remote Work 2020 report shows that remote workers primarily work in the following locations:

pie chart showing locations for remote workers

So how do you master the balancing act? The aim is to have a productive working day, one that doesn’t interrupt your own downtime at home. It’s not an easy task, but one that everyone working from home should aim for. You might never complete it, but you’ll definitely feel better for trying.

Overcoming the problems with working from home

Struggling to switch off after work? You’re not alone. Typically people use a commute to decompress from the working day. But the lines blur when you work where you live. Taking the stresses of that day home with you is pretty easy when you just go from one room to the next. It’s just one of the problems remote workers need to tackle:


Being unable to switch off from home


You need to create as much separation between your home and work lives as possible. Try not to use your phone for work reasons and avoid using your work computer for personal tasks. When you go to work or go home, you want to feel like there’s distance between the two. You can try replicating a commute by going on a walk round the block, for example. Try and put activities into your routine that either allow you to prepare for the working day or unwind from it.


The idea of being constantly available


Talk to your employer about expectations on replying. If you have flexible working hours, there should be some understanding that people may or may not be available during conventional work hours. Healthy boundaries are important. Remember you can also schedule replies on most email providers if you work anti-social hours and would rather it land in someone’s inbox in the morning.


Limited privacy


Not everyone has a spare room to use as an office. They rely on a working ‘zone’, so interruptions can be inevitable. The important thing is to have a dedicated space – even if you have to set it up and put it away each day. You also need to talk to the people you live with, so they know when you’re working. It can be tricky with younger kids around, so you may need to rely on a sign if you’re on a call. Remember you can also spend time in a coffee shop or library, for example, to have a break from your home environment if needed.


Insufficient IT or internet capabilities


Some companies will set aside a budget to make sure all their employees have the right equipment and connections at home. Before you make the move to home working, you will need to check your connection is up to scratch. You might be able to upgrade, or you might have to change providers. You could chat to your neighbours to see if they’re happy with their connection, or use a broadband and mobile coverage checker to compare.


Keeping up concentration and focus


No-one can keep up focus for hours on end. You have to give yourself breaks. Whether that’s organising meetings to break up the day or going on a walk at lunch, you need to give your brain a rest. At home, you could do a few chores before returning to your desk. Just be careful you don’t get too distracted from your work.


A lack of socialising or workplace culture


We’ve explored some tools you can use to keep in touch, but ultimately, it’s down to effort. You have to reach out and keep in touch with colleagues. Does your company have a social committee? Are there events you could organise, either virtually or in the office? Also, consider how you could use the extra time you save by not commuting to get in touch with friends or start a new hobby.

No problem is insurmountable. But it’s important you don’t struggle alone at home with these issues or any other other. That’s when feelings of isolation can really escalate. If there’s anything you’re unhappy with or finding difficult, talk to your team, your manager or your HR department to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

What to do if you’re experiencing workplace stress

While the odd stressful day or a certain amount of pressure may be natural in the workplace, no-one’s work should make them feel regularly stressed. Creating balance is important as without it, work stresses can be overwhelming and affect all aspects of our lives.

Signs you could be experiencing workplace stress include:

  • Mood swings
  • Being withdrawn
  • Loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
  • Increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive

Source: HSE

You could also be taking more sick days or have noticed an impact on your performance – delivering work late, for example. Nobody wants to do a bad job at work, and this guilt can end up adding to your stresses. If you feel like things are starting to get on top of you, be proactive about it.

Although when our stress levels are high, we might feel uncertain, there are ways to regain control. These include:

Talking to your employer

Workplaces vary. Some operate with small teams and it can be easily noticeable if someone is feeling stressed. Within larger operations, things may go unnoticed. But it’s up to you to talk to someone – whether that’s your manager or a dedicated HR department. The company has an incentive to tackle workplace stress and will want you feeling better. They could suggest things like:

Workplace stress

Clarifying your job description and expectations

A lot of stress can come from a lack of clarity over job duties and responsibilities. You may have had a lot of tasks added to your workload which shouldn’t really be there. Sorting this out can reduce some stress.

Changing your responsibilities

It might be that a change of duties is actually what’s needed. Something new can make all the difference, breathing new life into your working routine.

Taking time off

You may need a complete break from work. Either holiday or temporary sick leave will completely remove you from work. It can help you gain perspective and return to work feeling refreshed.

In an attempt to reduce workplace stress, you might also want to tackle how you respond to challenging situations too. For example, at work, a lot of things are beyond our control. We spend far too much time focusing on those and stressing ourselves out. Instead, we should be looking at the things we can control, including how we react to problems.

Everyone will experience stress differently, but the following things may help you tackle why you’re feeling under pressure:

Are you striving for perfectionism?

Perfect is unrealistic. You are essentially setting yourself up for failure, which can result in stress. Instead, just aim to do your best.

Are you fixating on the negative side of things?

Try and flip negative thoughts into something positive. For example, praising yourself for small accomplishments, rather than criticising yourself for not doing enough.

Could you see this in a humorous way?

Laughing at things always lightens the mood. It can definitely relieve stress. Although you should remain professional, it doesn’t mean you have to take everything too seriously.

Could you tidy up your surroundings?

Untidy environments can contribute to stress. Keeping on top of mess and making sure your work area is clutter-free can help in those moments when you feel stressed.