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January is a tough month for many; the combination of dreary weather, failing New Year’s resolutions, the post-Christmas diet and the financial worries of trying to stretch that early December paycheck to the end of January – there’s no shortage of reasons why people might feel down and lack motivation this month.

It’s no surprise then that January is also the UK’s peak time for sickness absence and stress in the workplace, meaning that staff morale and general productivity will be at an all-time low.

Whilst there is no simple answer or a one-size fits all solution to help your staff beat the blues this January, employers can consider small actions to help improve staff wellbeing and positivity which can benefit both employees and businesses alike.

Focus on employee engagement

Communication and involvement are key to making employees feel like they are an important part of the organisation. If they don’t understand what the business is trying to achieve this year or they don’t feel valued themselves, why would they feel motivated or inspired to work hard all year round?

Take time to discuss personal and professional plans for the year and help to set some achievable goals to help drive motivation.

Recognise the successes of the previous year

Recognising the successes of 2022 is a great way to keep your employees motivated throughout January.

More frequent employee feedback and praise as and when appropriate can also help people feel appreciated and valued. If a staff member does a good job, tell them, if they are always performing at a consistently high level, acknowledge this to ensure they know that their efforts are not overlooked but are seen and appreciated.

Practice sensitivity

We are all individuals and what works for one person may not work for another. The reasons why a person may be feeling down, disengaged or fed up will also differ. Some may have more deep-rooted reasons behind their behaviour and/or feelings.

Try and spot signs that someone is unhappy and talk to them about it. Ask if there is anything that can be done to provide support and assistance. If they don’t want to talk about it, don’t push the point. However, look to revisit the conversation again later to see if there is an opportunity to help. In the meantime, make them aware of any employee assistance programmes you may have in place, where they can discuss issues in confidence.

If you feel that a person has more substantial issues than just feeling a bit fed up because it’s January, signpost them to mental health first aiders or external support and counselling services. Depending on the situation, reasonable adjustments may need to be considered and specific advice should be taken on how best to manage and support these individuals on a case-by-case basis.

Lead by example

Just as negativity within a team can spread, so can positivity.

Even if managers business leaders don’t feel entirely upbeat themselves, if they communicate positive messages to their teams, praise and give positive feedback to individuals, this can help their workforce to feel more positive and that, in turn, may assist leaders in feeling more positive also.

Small gestures reap big rewards

Ask employees what changes can be made to help them through January – for some this may be additional team engagement (especially if staff are working remotely), for others it may be biscuits or healthy snacks in the break room, or a care package to remote workers.

The changes need not necessarily be high financial value, but they could result in large gains in productivity, employee engagement and a better, more positive working environment for all.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise

During the dark winter months, it’s not always easy to see daylight during the working day which can be detrimental to a person’s health and wellbeing. Encouraging staff take regular breaks away from their desks and getting out in the fresh air at lunchtime to see natural daylight, can prevent energy levels from slumping and help stabilise mood boosting hormones.

Plan for time off

There is no better way to lift the January blues than booking a holiday in a sunnier climate. Employers should ensure that holiday calendars are up and running and employees are clear of their remaining holiday entitlements for the year ahead and whether carrying over of untaken holiday from the previous year is permitted under your policy.  A simple reminder of your holiday request procedure, together with any restrictions on taking holidays during peak times such as the school holiday period, should help prompt staff in the midst of winter to look forward to better and more warmer things to come.

Whilst the above measures can minimise the prospect of employees feeling the January Blues at work, it is important to recognise that mental health is an issue that employers should be supporting all year round. The HSE recently revealed that 30.8 million working days were lost to work related ill health in 2021/22, showing that stress, depression and anxiety is far from being confined to January.

Anyone can experience mental health difficulties at any stage of their life. Historically mental health has been something that many people don’t feel able to openly acknowledge or discuss, which means problems all too often don’t get resolved and only escalate.

Our wellbeing training courses aim to change that by giving staff a practical understanding of mental health, anxiety and depression and stress awareness. Equally as importantly, though, they provide them with guidance on how they can help colleagues with their wellbeing and create an inclusive and supportive workplace culture.

Courses include:


To view our full range of wellbeing courses, click here.

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The recent HSE update to their guidance on protecting homeworkers has become even more pertinent following the new Government directive to work from home where possible.

Just as many workers were returning to their offices, albeit in a very different capacity to which they left them, the trend is now set to reverse with numbers working from home likely to rise again.

The updated guidance reiterates the need for employers to demonstrate the same duty of care towards employees who work from home as they do for on-site staff.

HSE guidance and how training can help

The importance of adhering to the guidelines is twofold:

  • To look after your employees and ensure their wellbeing, both physical and mental
  • To ensure that your business is compliant and operating within the guidelines, negating the possibility of any future accusations of not following the correct procedures which could leave the company open to financial penalties.

In order to help keep your employees safe and your business compliant, eLearning can help employers ensure that they are providing the best possible level of care to the health and safety needs of their employees.

Employees can take the training at home and as they are likely to be in their current working environment they can make any changes necessary to improve their safety quickly and easily.

eLearning can cover the key areas contained within the HSE guidelines and is ideally suited to ensuring that you and your employees are working in a safe environment.

The guidelines refer specifically to DSE (Display Screen Equipment), Mental Health and Stress and state that:

As an employer when someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, you should consider:

  • How will you keep in touch with them?
  • What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?
  • Can it be done safely?
  • Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?

This is as important now as it was when employees first started to work from home on a widespread scale, following restrictions imposed in March.

It could be argued that it is actually even more important as time has progressed, with feelings of isolation likely to have grown the longer home working has gone on.

To say that everybody who has switched to working from home has suffered mentally isn’t true; studies have shown that a high number of people have flourished, citing increased flexibility, lack of commute and reduced distractions as just some of the reasons for a reduction in stress and improvement in overall mental health.

DSE and working from home

One of the key things to consider about the home office space is DSE. We all know that incorrectly set up screens can cause musculoskeletal issues and other health problems and that this has to be a core area of concern for employers moving towards homeworking; but how do employers and employees alike mitigate this risk?

The answer is with targeted training that can be delivered at home, namely eLearning. Getting your employees to undergo training specifically focused on DSE will help to achieve the goals of ensuring their safety and demonstrating you taking responsibility as an employer.

Training should include points such as:

  • How to set up DSE correctly to maximise safety
  • Exercises to minimise the risks of injury
  • Importance of regular breaks
  • Relevant legislation

To discover more about successfully training your employees to set up their DSE safely, we have a number of options available.


The HSE guidance explicitly mentions the greater need for employers to ensure the mental health of their homeworking staff is protected.

Studies have shown that a number of people have seen improvements to their mental health since working from home, citing increased flexibility, lack of commute and reduced distractions as just some of the reasons for a reduction in stress.

However, for a great many others, feelings of isolation, loneliness and detachment from the workplace has led to a rise in stress and a deterioration in mental health.

This is where managers have had to step up and will continue to need to do so. Increased communication from managers is vital to help with feelings of isolation, as is the need to be able to recognise early warning signs and symptoms of stress in employees.

We have a set of resources specifically designed to help employees recognise their own signs of stress and to help manage it, along with resources for managers to learn how to manage stress in their team.

Home Working Risk Assessments

Many of the risks inherent to homeworking are the same as working in the office: setting up display screen equipment correctly, minimising slips and trips and taking extra precautions if lone working for example.

Home working environments should have had a thorough risk assessment carried out at the outset. Even if this was the case, now is a good time to be re-visiting it to ensure that the working environment remains safe.

We created a Home Working Risk Assessment for precisely this purpose and provides a comprehensive tool for ensuring the safety if your employees.

It focuses on three core areas: your home workspace, working design and taking care of yourself. From looking after your mental health all the way to electrical safety, no homeworking topic is neglected. There is also an extra section for people with line management responsibilities.


The recent updates to the HSE guidelines about protecting home workers are a timely reminder that we cannot be complacent about the health and safety of homeworkers.

Coupled with the new advice from the government regarding working from home where possible, now is the perfect opportunity to refresh your employees training to maximise their safety.

Our solutions provide a high quality, cost effective solution to your training needs in order to mitigate risk and keep your employees safe.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, many of us will be giving our mental health more thought than ever before.

With COVID-19 bringing unexpected bereavement, health anxiety and worries about our physical and financial wellbeing well into the future, it can seem we’re being bombarded with stress from all angles. At the same time, many of the activities, hobbies and relationships we relied on to calm us down are no longer available due to the restrictions.

In this series of blogs we’re exploring the most common mental health issues, including something many people will be struggling with in these uncertain times: stress.

What does stress feel like?

Stress can be defined as “the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable”.

COVID-19 and the lockdown have made many people’s lives considerably more stressful. Alongside the associated health anxieties, there has been a loss of physical contact with our wider networks of loved ones who can support us. Many of us are caring for children and juggling that with full-time work. It’s natural to feel stressed at this time – but how do you know when stress is becoming a mental health issue?

Signs that stress may be getting out of control include:

  • Physical problems: If you’re getting minor illnesses such as colds more often, that can be a sign of stress wearing you down. Headaches and muscle pains may also suggest you’re under stress, especially if they’re happening more often than usual.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: When we’re overwhelmed, it can feel impossible to function at our normal levels. If you’re anxious, struggling with motivation and finding it hard to continue your day-to-day tasks, your stress levels could be getting out of hand.
  • Coping mechanisms: Most people use coping mechanisms of one kind or another to get through the harder parts of life. These can be healthy, such as exercise or a creative hobby. They can also be destructive, like drinking to excess regularly. With many of the usual routes to de-stress taken away because of the coronavirus, many are finding it harder to handle their stress.

The NHS website has a list of the signs of stress. It can be helpful to look out for these signs in ourselves and also in our loved ones. Stress can increase gradually so it can be quite severe before we even realise there’s a problem.

What helps with stress?

Even with extreme cases of stress, there are things you can do to control it. They won’t magically make the stress disappear (and it’s important to get medical attention if you think your stress is beyond your ability to cope with it), but they might make it easier to manage.

During this pandemic, self-care can seem like a luxury with all the other demands on our time. But it is in fact a necessity: we can’t look after others if we’re burnt out ourselves. Making time for yourself should be a priority, whether that’s taking time to read, indulge in a hobby or just to relax alone.

Keeping active is always a good antidote to stress. If you’re strapped for time, even a half hour walk can be beneficial. Reaching out to loved ones virtually, while not as good as the real thing, can be a great way to de-stress and take your mind off the causes. Likewise, there has never been such a need for volunteers. If it’s physically safe to do so, there may be opportunities to drop off supplies for local people in need who are self-isolating. The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is kindness and spreading some kindness around in the form of volunteering can help our own mental health immensely.

Remember that if you’re stressed, you’re far from alone. In a 2018 study, 74% of people said they had felt so stressed they felt unable to cope in the previous year. Opening up to someone you trust can be the first step towards feeling better – and what better time than Mental Health Awareness Week?

Getting help

Please note that the information provided is for reference only and does not constitute medical advice. If you or someone you know is in crisis please visit this page for guidance.



Telephone: 116 123

Shout UK (Crisis Text Line)


Text Shout to 85258

Mind – the mental health charity


Your Mind Plan – interactive quiz with tailored suggestions from Every Mind Matters


NHS – Mental Health and Wellbeing information


The Mental Health Foundation – your mental health – information


It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and it has never felt so timely.

COVID-19 has had a huge effect on people’s mental health. There are people struggling with unexpected bereavement, worries over their own health and anxiety about the wellbeing of their loved ones. The usual coping mechanisms many relied on – spending time with friends, playing team sports or attending a place of worship – became unavailable just at the point when many needed them. Though of course physical health had to come first during a pandemic like this, mental health should not be forgotten.

In this series of blogs we’re exploring the most common mental health issues, beginning with the most widely reported mental health condition worldwide: depression.

What does depression feel like?

“I was so depressed when it rained on my holiday.” “I don’t like that film – it’s depressing.” We hear terms relating to depression every day but sadly, the inaccurate way they’re used contributes to misconceptions about what depression actually is.

There’s a huge difference between feeling temporarily “down” – which happens to everyone – and depression, which is a medical condition requiring treatment. People with depression can’t “snap out of it” or think themselves better. Their condition is the result of a complex mixture of circumstances and genetics, though even the most severe cases can be treated. Depression can affect anyone of any age, gender, race or nationality.

Depression can manifest in different ways for each person but some common symptoms are:

  • Loss of interest in fun things: Activities that used to bring you pleasure or give you a sense of achievement no longer seem worthwhile. This can lead to guilt, which feeds the depression further. If you’re no longer getting any joy out of hobbies you used to love, this could be a sign of depression.
  • Feeling low, sad or anxious: When most of us think of depression, the first sign we think of is of a persistent low mood. However, this is not always visible to others, as people who seem outwardly very cheerful can be masking their real feelings.
  • Withdrawal: Avoiding friends and family can be a key signal of depression, especially if it’s out of character. Likewise, sleeping or eating significantly more or less than usual can be a warning sign. Unfortunately, this can add to the vicious cycle of depression, since self-care and good nutrition are great ways to combat depression.

A comprehensive list of depression symptoms can be found on the NHS website. Though we should avoid self-diagnosing or putting a label on our loved ones due to their behaviour, these can be signs that someone’s mental health is suffering. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, the weeks of isolation may well have caused some to develop depression or for their existing depression to get worse, so we need to look out for each other’s mental health.

If you ever find yourself having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, seek medical help immediately. A list of crisis services can be found here.

About depression

If you have depression, you’re not alone. In fact, it is the predominant mental health problem worldwide. 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.

Some people only suffer a single bout of depression, perhaps brought about by bereavement or another difficult event. For others, it can reoccur multiple times over their life, sometimes for no clear reason. It’s important to remember depression is a treatable condition and full recovery is possible.

With the enforced solitary lifestyle of COVID-19 and its lockdown, some people may be experiencing a worsening of their symptoms. Conversely, others may be finding the slower pace of life, homeworking or increased time with immediate family has helped their condition. We’re all individuals and depression affects people in different ways.

This year, the topic of Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness. With the impact of the virus and lockdown on mental health still to be fully understood, we can all practice kindness by reaching out (virtually) to loved ones and making sure we watch out for each other’s mental health.

Getting help

Please note that the information provided is for reference only and does not constitute medical advice. If you or someone you know is in crisis please visit this page for guidance.



Telephone: 116 123

Shout UK (Crisis Text Line)


Text Shout to 85258

Mind – the mental health charity


Your Mind Plan – interactive quiz with tailored suggestions from Every Mind Matters


NHS – Mental Health and Wellbeing information


The Mental Health Foundation – your mental health – information


Anxiety can be defined as:

‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.’

It is important to remember than anxiety can be a perfectly natural reaction or response to certain events in life, such as a job interview or sitting an exam for example.

If these feelings persist once an event has passed, there is no obvious reason to feel anxious, or if the reaction is excessive, anxiety can become a problem.

Some common symptoms of anxiety (please note this is not an exhaustive list):


  • a churning feeling in your stomach
  • faster breathing
  • a fast, thumping, or irregular heartbeat
  • sweating or hot flushes
  • problems sleeping
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • needing the toilet more or less often


  • feeling tense, nervous, or unable to relax
  • having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
  • feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
  • feeling like other people can see you are anxious and are looking at you

Anxiety shares many symptoms with stress, but anxiety is generally a more intense and longer lasting feeling. The symptoms of anxiety can impact on aspects of daily life and interfere with the ability to function ‘normally’. At this point it can be said that an anxiety disorder is present.

There are many different types of anxiety – far too many to list in this article, however, some of the most frequently encountered include GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Phobias. Further information on individual types of anxiety can be found at AnxietyUK.

Whatever specific type of anxiety an individual encounters, all have many common symptoms and it is important not to be too concerned with attaching a specific label to a condition.

What happens when anxiety is triggered?

An anxiety response is fundamentally the ‘fight or flight’ response the body responds with when facing something that is perceived as a threat. The body is flooded with adrenaline which is triggered by the part of our brain which has recognised a threat. This is a primitive response dating back to early man and which exists to protect us and give us the strength to either fight the threat or run from it – either way, the response helped us to survive and so our brain/body thinks it is helping us.

Anything other than an immediate threat to life that provokes this response is a false reaction from the brain. This is often as a result of a learned pattern of fear or an overstimulated nervous system, and it can occur following a prolonged period of stress resulting in the fight or flight switch being left in the ‘on’ position.

First and second fear- the cycle of anxiety

A major problem faced by those suffering from anxiety is not knowing what is happening.

The feelings brought about by anxiety can be uncomfortable and scary. What happens when we face something uncomfortable and scary? Additional fear is created, and the original symptoms are exacerbated. This is known as ‘second fear’. First fear is the initial anxiety response, such as weak legs or increased heart rate, for example. Second fear comes from the reaction to those feelings, a kind of ‘oh no what’s happening?’ ‘something really bad is happening’ which, if you are in an anxiety state already, is likely to happen. Thus, anxiety can become part of a cycle of fear.


A very effective first step to breaking this cycle is to develop an understanding of what is happening to you. In time this will help reduce the level of fear to a point where, whenever you feel anxious, you will simply acknowledge those feelings and not be so fearful of them. You will begin to see that they are harmless feelings that will pass – and they always do if you let them.

The anxiety paradox

It is natural when we feel fear and the uncomfortable symptoms it brings that we will want it to go away and do whatever we can to make it go away.

Paradoxically this produces completely the opposite result that we want. Doing this tells the brain that there is indeed something to fear and it gives the body more anxiety as a result.

Whilst understanding how difficult it is to do, the only way to overcome anxiety is to go through it; and that means facing the fear. By becoming accustomed to the feelings that anxiety brings, and understanding that they will pass, the brain gradually learns that there is no reason to continue to produce the anxious response.


This is commonly referred to as the ‘acceptance’ method. Accepting the feelings and letting them pass with time.

Many people see this methodology and instantly dismiss it on the basis that they cannot possibly cope with the symptoms. This is completely understandable as the symptoms of anxiety can be extremely distressing. However, acceptance is a proven method of overcoming anxiety.

Anyone interested in learning more about this method could read the works of Australian psychologist Dr Claire Weekes who pioneered the acceptance method.

What else can I do about anxiety?

There are of course many things that you can do to help alleviate anxious feelings. A small selection is featured below.


Commonly used methods of relaxation include meditation, yoga, indulging in hobbies that focus the mind such as reading or creative activities.


Medication is commonly prescribed to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. For more information about medication please contact your GP. This article provides a summary of potential options


Exercise is commonly used as a means of providing relief. This works by burning the excess adrenaline released into your body during periods of anxiety. Accordingly, the period following exercise is frequently a period of relief as the build-up of adrenaline has been removed from the body, and a period of calm can often follow. Exercise is also said to produce endorphins and create improved mood.


Therapy can be very effective in treating anxiety, it gives sufferers a safe space in which to discuss their feelings and help them to make sense of what is happening to them. Common therapeutic approaches to anxiety are CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which looks to help by changing the way you think and behave and Exposure Therapy which works on the basis of facing your fears and reducing their impact on you.

Therapy can be accessed on the NHS via your GP or there is a vast number of private therapists available.


The symptoms of anxiety can have devastating effects on people and developing an understanding of these is a good place to start.

Relief is available in many forms and anxiety is one of the most treatable mental health conditions.

Please note that the content in this article does not constitute medical advice and anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their GP. In urgent cases or times of crisis this web page contains links to a number of resources.

The charity Mind also has an Infoline where you can access information about mental health problems, where to get help near you and treatment options. The number for this service is 0300 123 3393.

Useful resources



Mental Health Foundation


Anxiety No More

No More Panic

Calm Clinic


Stress is something that Covid-19 has definitely brought with it, and this stress makes its way into our working lives every day. However, with or without a pandemic, work-related stress is a serious problem, and it’s on the rise.

Data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that the number of cases of work-related stress, depression and anxiety are steadily increasing. They reported that over 600,000 workers suffered from these factors in 2018/19, and 12.8 million workdays have been lost as a result.

The industries that came out on top for stress figures were public administration and defence, health and social work, and education – all three areas include dealing with a lot of people, and having to meet high standards.

The figures have been similar for a long time, but in recent years there has been an increase – something that Dr Diana Gall says “really is concerning” because of the impact that stress can have on the individual, both physically and mentally.

Work-related stress, depression and anxiety, is defined as “a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work.” How an individual reacts is compared to a ‘fight or flight’ response according to psychology academics from the University of Leicester. Claire Robinson, psychology graduate, said how “we display adaptive behaviour to try and either avoid the situation or resolve it.” Moreover, if stress continues, it can lead to anxiety, and in some cases, depression.

The causes of this rise are put down to workload, a broad term that includes tight deadlines, maintaining a work-life balance, and changes in the workplace. A professor from the University of Leicester touched on his personal perspective, arguing that “more and more is being expected of us” and because of that, “it is no wonder that stress is increasing, particularly in younger, less experienced staff.” This goes for all industries too; competition is high, standards are higher, and therefore the pressures to succeed are rapidly increasing.

Not only is the working environment becoming more stressful, Neil Shah from the Stress Management Society says that the problem goes further than that. “The current socio-political-economic climate is such that it’s understandable that people are more stressed than ever before” and he said this before corona turned the world upside down – something that is only adding to stress levels. The work environment can cause stress in its own right, but even more so, stress from the outside world can then interfere with your working day too.

Employers need to be aware of the severity of this problem in the workplace. HSE’s statistic shows how common the issue is, so ignoring it definitely won’t make it go away. Claire said how “awareness is one of the simplest tools” when it comes to dealing with workplace stress. Once you know the signs of someone suffering, you can acknowledge the stress before it potentially develops into anxiety or depression.

Stress doesn’t only impact the individual in question, it has an effect on their working performance. As the data has shown – days are lost because of stress, and this means that the business suffers too.

Neil Shah emphasised the responsibility of the employer in this challenge: “It is imperative for employers to ensure that the wellbeing of their employees is being effectively measured and supported, with a clear People, Culture and Wellbeing Strategy to guide it. The business case for managing the wellbeing of employees is irrefutable.”

Dr Diana Gall touched on one way of dealing with the problem: “Mental health is serious, and employees nationwide would benefit from schemes in the workplace to help alleviate unnecessary stress.”

The first step is all about getting the conversation started, letting people know that it is “okay not to be okay” as Neil said. He added: “you need clarity as to where you currently are on your wellbeing journey, have clarity regarding what success looks like, and then create a strategic approach to get you there,” with the end result being a positive workplace for everyone.

Now more than ever, everyone needs to look out for people suffering during this testing time, so whether you’re still in the workplace or working from home, look after yourself and those around you.

This article is a guest post from India Wentworth. India can be contacted at [email protected]

Guest Post: Workplace Stress is on the Rise

The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are unprecedented in living memory. Almost unique in peacetime, the changes to society, work and leisure are far-reaching, with major measures to prevent the spread of the virus in place in every country touched by it.

The crisis has shone a light on the central role of technology in our society. If our reliance on modern tech was something to be concerned about beforehand, it has become nothing short of vital now. Perhaps the Millennial generation – long mocked for their supposed obsession with technology over real-world interactions – are specially placed to adjust to these changes.

The Role of Technology

With many people confined to their homes for the foreseeable future, our internet connections have to stand in for many of the building blocks of normal life:

  • Work: Those who are able to work from home have been told to do so. This has created an army of remote workers, many of them working from home for extended periods for the first time in their careers.
  • Education: Since schools closed, many parents and family members are finding themselves in the role of temporary teachers. The internet provides endless content for activities to keep children happy, engaged and learning during the closure period, as well as providing a handy way for teachers to put work online for their students.
  • Social Lives: With gatherings forbidden, technology allows us to remember that “social distancing” only refers to physical distance. Keeping in contact with our friends and family remotely is more important than ever. When phone calls and social media posts just aren’t enough, video calls can give us that much-needed dose of human interaction.
  • Shopping: People have been advised to shop online for essentials where they’re able to. It’s not always possible – due to the greater demand, delivery slots are harder to come by – but where it can be done, it avoids unnecessary interaction with others and helps to stop the spread of the virus.

While for many people this is a revolution in how they live their lives, for many millennials, it is an intensifying of habits they already had.

Coming of age in the early 2000s, millennials were the first generation to fully embrace social media and go through the latter stages of school and university with broadband internet access close at hand. Keeping in touch with friends in far-flung places, ordering items online and doing work – or school work – at home is second nature to many. Though it is of course a generalisation, it may be the older generation who are feeling the most strain from the coronavirus lockdown.

Every generation expresses a preference for some flexibility in where they work from, but this has been particularly strong for millennials. For years before the crisis began, this age group were showing a strong desire to work from home where possible. It’s hard to predict what long-term effects the coronavirus lockdown will have on working practices, but with widespread home-working becoming the new (temporary) norm, it could be that more employers follow this line in the future, adapting their business demands to the needs of millennial workers.

Pulling Together

Now more than ever, society needs to pull together – and that needs effort from people in all age groups.

This period has been full of examples of the best social media has to offer the world. For example, within a few days of the shutdown there were hundreds of Mutual Aid groups on Facebook, where local people who were vulnerable, self-isolating or running low on essential supplies could ask for help. There have also been successful fundraising efforts to help those most at risk of the virus, such as the Robin Hood Fund in Nottingham.

Video calling technology has also been useful for connecting older people who cannot leave their homes or receive visitors to their families – proving that far from pushing people apart as opponents of such technology have suggested, it can actually bring people separated by circumstances closer together.

Helpful Resources

Here are some more helpful tips and resources to help you while remote working:

Remote Working awareness course

Try our Remote Working awareness course to stay safe and healthy away from the office.

Information Security awareness training

With the flexibility to work from home in the current climate, it’s a great time to refresh your knowledge of keeping business information secure and working safely online. Try our awareness training courses on key information security topics to working safely and securely away from the office.

Business Contingency Plan (BCP) for Infection Outbreaks

blog post with helpful tips for businesses on drawing up a business contingency plan and ensuring business continuity.

Mental Health While Working Remotely

blog post with helpful tips on how to care for your mental health while working from home for longer periods.

People have been predicting a sharp rise in working from home for years. Sadly, it’s come to pass in a way few would have predicted, and nobody would have wished for.

The Covid-19 crisis continues to change the way we live and work in profound ways. Even for workplaces that can shift to a largely remote working model, it is a large change to make with very little preparation time. Individuals too are transitioning to performing their roles in ways they wouldn’t have predicted a few weeks ago.

In the midst of these difficulties and fast-moving changes, how does your training plan fit into all this?

A Remote Model of Learning

The key word for getting businesses through the coronavirus outbreak is “adaptability”. With eLearning, adaptability is one of its greatest strengths.

Employees working from home and juggling their job’s demands and a sudden increase in childcare responsibilities will need extra flexibility with hours. Rolling out eLearning courses is the perfect solution. Courses can be taken whenever it suits the learner and you can be sure that everyone is getting the same information.

Modern eLearning is designed to be accessible. People can take their courses on whichever device is most convenient or comfortable for them.

Training for Remote Workers

There are many topics that lend themselves to being the focus of refresher training during the period of coronavirus.

Cyber security is one of the most obvious. Being outside of the traditional working environment – for the first time for many – it can be easy to forget the basics of protecting yourself and your data. Some refresher training in this area can remind people of cyber sec’s importance and protect them, and your business, from anyone trying to take advantage of the situation by exploiting poor cyber security.

With such an upheaval in working practices, it can help to get a refresher on risk assessments. Spotting potential hazards is just as important at home and we might even forget to look out for them because we’re generally more at ease in a familiar environment.

Social media has been buzzing with people sharing their (often very improvised) home working stations. While amusing in many cases, it’s important to remember the need for good display screen equipment (DSE) set ups. Though this can of course be challenging in a household with minimal free space or with several people working from home at once, employers still have a duty of care to their employees to help them avoid musculoskeletal problems from bad DSE usage. Providing refresher training can help jog people’s memories.

Remote working is in itself a new challenge for many. Sending out general remote working training can be very helpful at a time like this. Even in a crisis, there are benefits to this style of working, and many might find themselves feeling more productive. Yet staying connected to others and being aware of the issues around remote working can be helpful.

One area that might be overlooked is mental health. Workplace stress was a huge, widespread issue even before the coronavirus outbreak. Current events will be exacerbating existing anxiety. Employers should do all they reasonably can to watch out for their employees’ mental health and support them where they need it. Stress management courses might help people to handle their current work stress – or even help with the stress from other areas of their lives.

Refreshing eLearning

Everyone involved in training knows it is not just a simple “one time and done” job. Our brains don’t work like that. We need our knowledge to be topped up and used regularly, with training filling in any gaps that might be left over from the first time round.

This is where eLearning really comes into its own. Training schedules can be adapted year on year to make sure the basics are still covered, but people aren’t taking the exact same course over and over again. People can take short courses to address any small gaps in knowledge.

Not at Home?

It’s important to remember that not everyone has the luxury of switching to a remote working model. Many jobs can’t be done remotely, including those of key workers such as hospital staff.

For their benefit and everyone else’s, we are making our Preventing the Spread of Infection course free for the next 12 months.