NGI staff share working from home wellbeing tips

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May 2020. This year’s theme is kindness. Being kind can help reduce stress and improve emotional wellbeing. Its not just about being kind to others its about being kind to yourself.

The Mental Health Foundation have a few suggested acts of kindness to inspire you in the workplace.

  • Lend your ear – call a colleague and ask how they’re finding the change in routine.
  • Give praise to your colleague for something they’ve done well.
  • Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague.

Looking after your mental health is always important, but even more so when working from home. Our team at NGI have shared their tips, thoughts and acts of kindness that have helped them to keep balanced in uncertain times and while working from home.

My garden is really important to my mental health. Planting seeds, watering and then checking on my growing plants both ensures I live in the now, makes me think about the basics of life and what I need to thrive. It’s a relatively new hobby but I can pop out between zoom meetings and spend 10 minutes outside observing the progress of the plants and come back feeling like I have had a mini- holiday.  In times of great uncertainty, such as the current situation, having small routines such as having to water the plants every day keeps me sane. It reminds me that life goes on despite Covid and that I can play a small part in creating a nicer environment with pretty flowers or a fresh salad leaf.

Sarah Green, Chief Executive


I’ve always been one for writing lists, but I’ve found planning my short and long-term tasks, and even organising my day invaluable when working from home as it’s so much easier to be distracted. I’ve found the Planner app which can be integrated into Teams invaluable, along with Trello which has been a favourite of mine for many years. Another tip has been taking the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach for my workstation. As I work from my living room, as soon as 5pm comes on a Friday, I pack away my computer, so I’m not tempted to log back on and finish a task over the weekend.

Lisa Kelly, Digital Marketing Manager


I’ve always found working from home to be quite intense. No colleagues to chat to. No deliveries of 87 boxes of NewcastleGateshead maps to bring in. No conversations around the water cooler in the kitchen. Just constant work and phone calls from the start of the day to the end. Sometimes when I finish late it can be tempting not to leave the house, but I like how it signals the end of the day. It gives me that ‘leaving the office’ feeling. And going for a walk also helps to fix my back from a sitting position that I’m starting to think might not be ideal. I’m lucky enough to have the beach nearby but have also been taking in some of the other local sights.

Shelley Johnson, Head of Marketing


Working from home and predominately living life indoors day after day is tough. I’m finding going for a walk or run immediately after work is a great way to draw a line after the day’s work and mimic the commute with the benefit of fresh air and space, rather than hopping in the car.  I make sure I’m drinking plenty of water (as well as tea!) and trying to remind myself to get up regularly although it can be hard when there are fewer natural breaks in activity. Focus and productivity is a challenge at the minute so I’m trying to create a better morning routine too by getting up with plenty of time to have breakfast, have a shower and get dressed (even if it’s joggers and a jumper, again!) I’ve found having the radio on in the background so helpful to try and mitigate against painful silence – it’s a comforting, friendly presence while I’m working alone.

Hannah Lambert, Digital Content Manager


To make sure I keep balanced and look after my wellbeing during lockdown I make sure my workspace is a workspace. Bought a new pad and pencil holder so it looks the part! I also add a little bunch of flowers to my weekly shop to brighten up my desk (kitchen table). I also make sure I have one informal conversation with a colleague or partner, just generally catching up and checking in over a cuppa. I also run – a lot.

It’s important not to think too much about what you haven’t achieved that day, be kind to yourself and be proud of what you have achieved. Others sometimes need to hear this too. A compliment goes a long way and make someone feel worthy and appreciated. I have just received a lovely box from Northumbrian Gifts and Tyne Bank and Wylam Brewery from the boss. (Not that drinking alcohol is the answer!). Everything in moderation obviously and a lovely thoughtful surprise to let me know how much I am appreciated.  

Kelly Gleadow, PR and Communication Manager


Have plenty of breaks away from your screen and phone, drink lots of water and get as much fresh air as you can.

Finlay Magowan, PR and Media Manager