Guidance and resources to support the wellbeing of students and staff who are working from home.
“Won’t I get lonely?” “Will I be isolated?” Working from home can be a lonely enterprise when you are used to the university environment, but it doesn't have to be.
This page is here to help you make the most of your time, plan your flexible working and studying approaches and keep you connected with colleagues and fellow students. Here you'll find links to useful tools that will help you get the most out of working remotely, getting the best work/ home balance and looking after your wellbeing and mental health.
Resources for students
As ever, please look out on our normal social media feeds (Facebook is very active at the moment) with things going on such as "study club" which Meg has been running, and top tips being posted about working from home
We'll also update this section with links to any specific activity that academic schools are planning.
We'll be making regular updates to these pages and encouraging you to share tips and ideas on making the most of remote work and studying.
You'll find access to interesting blogs, top tips links to all of the key university technology and digital resources as well as opportunities to connect with colleagues from your school or course.
Online Pilates Classes
Physical exercise can offer stress relief alongside maintaining good health and fitness. If you are looking for some activities you can take part in whilst staying indoors, you might wish to try attending Pilates Classes online.
Pilates (Pi-lart-ees) is a system of exercise that focuses on conditioning your core abdominal and back muscles and combining movement with specific breathing techniques. To register for classes you can download a registration form and return it to Mindy Davey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for those concerned about Domestic Abuse
Navigating the new normal with colleagues
As another week of remote homeworking continues, I've been thinking how this now feels like the new 'normal' Face to face meetings seem a long way off and I've got used to the different sounds that all of the video conferencing apps make, so far I've presented online, attended a webinar, chaired a meeting of university colleagues from across the region and had all of my usual day to day meetings virtually.
I'm doing all of my usual work, as well as getting involved in several Covid 19 related projects. So what's missing? The thing that I'm starting to miss are the corridor convos; those impromptu chats you have whilst moving around the university, the impulse lunch meeting where you bump into a colleague in the queue and spend half an hour catching up over soup. I miss just bumping into colleagues and friends and just spending a few minutes catching up.
This isn't something I consciously plan, but it is often how I know my friends and colleagues are ok, snatching a quick coffee when someone needs to offload, keeping up to date on family life, the good, the bad, the sad. Working virtually means that this is something that I will now have to think differently about;
So here's my plan to reach out, lend an ear or a virtual shoulder to my much-missed colleagues and friends:
- Spend time in the virtual staff room. Many schools and departments have set up virtual staff rooms – there's are a mix of scheduled coffee meetings, fikas or chats accompanied by light-hearted articles, they offer the opportunity to drop in for a quick hello, or to share a photo of your pet, share some good news or reach out to others if you’re feeling a bit isolated. If you can't face another video chat these are great places to see what your colleagues have been doing and to feel connected to your team.
- Check-in on friends at set times of the day. The mornings might be a good time for this if you find it particularly tough waking up to the reality of the situation. If you find it difficult to get your motivation going when the walk from bed to the office takes less than 5 minutes – start your day by checking in with a friend – it doesn't have to take long, sharing how you're feeling and listening to others can help make you feel less alone and lift your mood for the day ahead. Same goes for the end of the day – try a quick message at the end of the day to see how things are going and mark out the break between work and home.
- If like me you spend a lot of downtimes reading books or news then share some of your best finds with others – send a 'saw this and thought of you' message along with a book or article recommendation. This gives you something to reconnect about at a later date.
If you are finding the lockdown tough and let's face it most of us are – but in different ways, it's really important to stay connected in whatever way we feel most comfortable, Keeping a lookout for your friends and colleagues are things we usually do without thinking. A friendly approach can make a huge difference to your wellbeing and of those you connect with.
Of course, if you do have concerns about the wellbeing of a friend or colleague, there are some resources on this page to help you in the tabs above.
This week I've had some interesting feedback from my colleagues about what they are seeing when we are having our video meetings.
Who knew that what I'm seeing on my little screen is not what they are seeing! So far I've showcased my impressive and numerous chins, my nostrils, flashed my knees (I was wearing shorts- well its been hot!) and best of all shown up as a silhouette - all I needed was the actor voice over and I was a Crimewatch video.
So if like me you have been spending endless hours talking with you fellow students, lecturers or colleagues on video chat the following tip may be just what you need:
1. Lift your laptop up
You should aim to have your camera at eye level - Almost everyone participates in a video chat with their laptop on their lap or their computer on their desk, which means the camera is shooting up at an unflattering angle that accentuates the jowls. Do yourself a favour and elevate your computer so that the camera is even with your eyes. I started off balancing my laptop on books and shoe boxes, not ideal but it did the trick, however without a keyboard this can make typing difficult. Ideally you should have your laptop on a solid sloping surface.
2. Make yourself comfortable
Fidgeting around and constantly adjusting your position can be disorientating for your audience - remember the knee flashing! Also looking directly at the person you are talking to wont give the best perspective, instead look at the lens - and as hard as it is don't look at yourself, this is distracting and can lead to you constantly adjusting while you try to look your best.
3. Light, light and (more) light
If like me you want to avoid looking like a crime reconstruction video getting the light right is a must. Easier said than done right? particularly when the sun is shining outside.
Trying to reduce direct light can help, try tilting down the camera - but beware of the unexpected view your fellow video callers will see! - again the knees!
If all else fails choose a background for your video call, you can dial into your meetings from plain flat background - or a tropical paradise the choice is yours.
Director of Access and Inclusion
University of Worcester
For regular inspirational updates on how to look after your mental health during lockdown visit Dr Dominique Thompsons' YouTube channel
. Dominique has extensive experience working with students as a former University GP and Mental Health advisor - she is also a TEDx speaker and author of the Student Wellbeing Series, How to Grow a Grown-Up
Manage your time on social media
Social media is a massive distraction. Before you know it, you've watched 30 videos of penguins dancing to K Pop and have wasted 20 minutes.
Put your phone on silent and keep it lying face down. Or, even better still, put it on aeroplane mode.
This doesn't mean you have to go cold turkey all day. Social media is a great way of keeping up with what's going on in the world. But, make a rule of only checking it once every hour and staying on it for no more than three minutes at a time. Of course there's an app for this.
There are even web browser extensions nowadays that will help keep you off Facebook and focused on the task at hand.
Follow the SU blog
Keep an eye on Worc Hard Play Hard to keep up to date with a series of blogs we are releasing on how you can stay happy, motivated and active among other things.
Get in touch
Please do share tips and ideas on making the most of remote work and studying. Email Health and Wellbeing at:
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