Far more people are working from home during the COVID-19 isolation period. Here are some top tips to help you settle into the new normal and keep productive!

1 Stick to your morning routine 

Get up and have a shower, eat your breakfast, make your coffee and get dressed. Try to stick to your usual routine where possible to keep yourself in a work mindset. Use your time saved from a shortened commute to get ahead with distracting tasks. Do something for yourself, get the kids set up for the day or push your routine back to catch a few extra Zzz’s, but keep to your usual routine where possible. 

2 Set up a work station 

If you do not have space for a home office, find a quiet corner somewhere to make your new office. Somewhere separate from the rest of the house where your isolation companions know not to distract you and you can focus on work. With the increase in web conferencing, you may want to have a think about your backdrop too! 

3 Keep your usual work hours 

Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. There are lots of apps out there to help you stick to timings and keep your focus so go and explore! 

4 Socialise with colleagues 

Loneliness, disconnect and isolation are common problems with work-from-home life, especially for extroverts. Take advantage of methods your company is offering you to stay in touch with colleagues. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests and virtual meetups for people in the same team.

It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socialising, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you’re familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. Remember, things can get misinterpreted if all communication is via email so pick up the phone or video chat when possible. 

5 Make the most of your breaks

Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. If this is challenging for you there are apps available to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes. Or you can just launch a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. If you return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20. Use this time to socialise with your household, do something creative, get some exercise, take a walk or catch up with some friends/colleagues via video chat.

Taking breaks improves your productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance. 

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing and maintaining educational provision.

And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible. They have asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Guidance for schools

It is important to underline that schools, all childcare settings (including early years settings, childminders and providers of childcare for school-age children), colleges and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools, and all childcare providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children. This includes those who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs. This includes those on child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children. Plus, those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties. Therefore, we will support headteachers to do so.

Guidance for parents

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care. Plus, other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

(For the full list of affected sectors visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Public safety and national security

This includes:

  • Police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel
  • Those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs (essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff
  • Other national security roles, including those overseas.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

  • Staff needed for essential financial services provision
  • Workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • The oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • Information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response
  • Key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications
  • Network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services
  • Postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

If your school is closed, then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.

We are grateful for the work of teachers and workers in educational settings for continuing to provide for the children of the other critical workers of our country. It is an essential part of our national effort to combat this disease.

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are to:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  • Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

  • Are over 70
  • Have an underlying health condition
  • Are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

This guidance is lifted from the gov.uk website and is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

At tough times like these, it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing, especially during social distancing and isolation. Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help to look after your mental wellbeing during social distancing. In addition, staying mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • Look for exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden
  • You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others

Understandably a key factor to support positive mental health is spending time with friends and family. 

What steps can you take to stay connected with family and friends during this time?

Draw on the support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.

Remember it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you can use an NHS recommended helpline.

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults