Updated: 29 November 2021

Laptop and fruit

Tips for staying well while remote working

It is important to look after your health and well-being while working remotely.

Here are some considerations to keep you healthy and well during any period of remote working:

  • Take time to focus on your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
  • Maintain your (virtual) connections with others.
  • Practice healthy hygiene habits
  • Eat regular, healthy meals. Eating well will help maintain your physical and mental well-being. Check out the Healthy Food Guide for recipe ideas.
  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
  • Open windows, where possible, to circulate fresh air

Mental, physical and emotional well-being

There are several opportunities available to you to ensure your mental, physical and emotional well-being during periods of remote working.

Start with a plan and schedule your physical, mental and emotional well-being activities as part of your daily and weekly routine.

Physical well-being

A fitness routine will help to break up your routine and boost your endorphins. You do not need any special equipment, walking (whilst maintaining physical distancing) or performing body weight exercises is just as good. Many online websites offer free workout videos whereby you can choose from a variety of work-outs. Before starting any new workout, know your limits!

  • Stretch. Kristina Driller has created these short instructional videos which are designed to get you up and about at home and move your body. Please take micro-breaks and ease into the stretches to find the ones that suit your body the best. The stretches are divided into lower and upper body stretches and will only take 60 - 120 seconds to perform, reducing the risk of aches and pains.
  • The Body Coach has plenty of workouts you can do at home.
  • The Yoga Download channel on YouTube provides a variety of yoga classes.
  • Personal trainer Cara Meehan has shared a simple exercise routine you can do at home.
Practice healthy hygiene habits
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap. 20 seconds. Then dry. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue. Put any used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately. Then wash your hands thoroughly.
  • If you live with family members or flatmates, make sure that you all practice healthy hygiene habits and cough etiquette.

Mental and emotional well-being

During any periods of imposed self-isolation, you may work through various stages of emotion. This article from Harvard Business Review (HBR) labels one of those emotions as grief and offers various suggestions to work through it.

Here are some tips to help you maintain your mental and emotional well-being:

The University of Waikato Well-being Hub is also online. If you are looking for a space for daily Well-being inspiration and ideas, this is the place to drop into. Connect through Facebook or Instagram.

As social beings, we harbor a need to connect with others, try these suggestions to continue building relationships virtually while in self-isolation.

Keep things in perspective. Use reliable sources for news about COVID-19: select a small number of trustworthy media sources so that when you do search for news about COVID-19 you are not reading fake news, opinion pieces and viral threads that increase your anxiety. The government's COVID-19 website gives accurate, up-to-date information about COVID-19 in New Zealand. Be sure to take breaks from the news.

Balance the news stories you read with good news stories from around the world. You can find these online or on Instagram by following @Good or @Upworthy.

Bring yourself into the present and focus on the things that matter most:

  • Practice gratitude. Write down the things you are grateful for; your health, your job, your loved ones, technology that enables us to connect.
  • Think about what you might say to comfort a friend and say these things to yourself
  • Avoid catastrophising. Instead, manage your worries. Imagine that you're putting them into a box, you can revisit them but remember to close the lid and move on with other things.
  • Find activities that give you a sense of mastery, these can be simple things like making the bed or going for a walk
  • Engage in activities that lighten your mood, watch a comedy, listen to uplifting music
  • Use affirmation cards
  • The Capability Group shares their guidance on consciously focusing our attention through our circle of influence.

Breathe: It sounds pretty basic but take a deep breath whenever you start to feel overwhelmed. Here is a 5 minute simple audio breathing practice. The Capability Group also shares their lock-down guidance on good breathing practices.

Offer to help others, and reach out for help as and when you need it. Check in on others, be open about your remote working experiences with your manager and other team members and if you are starting to feel like you need assistance reach out as soon as you can (see below for options).

There are many additional resources available to help you maintain your mental and emotional well-being and build your resilience, these include:

  • The Mental Health Foundation has launched Getting Through Together; a national mental health and well-being campaign to help New Zealanders get through the COVID-19 outbreak – together.
  • Just a Thought has developed a specific online module which introduces easy-to-use, practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life due to COVID-19.
  • Melon Health offers self-care and an supportive community to help maintain your well-being.
  • Dementia is a free app that coaches mental well-being to help kiwis thrive through COVID-19.
  • Our EAP provider has lots of online resources, tips and tricks to help you. All staff members have access to these resources; just go to the Benestar website then register with company ID: uniwaikato and token: w27. This will enable you to setup your own account and personalise your resources.
  • Southern Cross is offering free access to StayingWell; a site with information on how to stay physically active, mentally strong and engaged with peers.
  • Calm offers resources to assist with mental and emotional well-being.
  • Face COVID is a set of practical steps for responding effectively during a crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
  • Lucy Hone's 16-minute TED Talk highlights three strategies to build resilience.
  • The New Zealand Well-being and Resilience Institute's real-time resilience strategies for coping with COVID-19

Managing Your Finances

Find out more about financial support available from the government.

MoneyTalks is a free helpline available to provide budgeting advice to individuals, family and whānau.

Further support

Many of our staff members may be feeling concerned for themselves, their family and loved ones here and overseas.

If you would like some additional support, we encourage you to:

  • Speak with your manager or HR to address any concerns you may have or challenges you may be experiencing
  • Contact our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider, Benestar, by phone (0800 360 364) or email [email protected]
  • Call or text 1737; New Zealand’s national mental health & addictions helpline number or call 0800 lifeline (543 354) for immediate external support
  • Access Just a Thought, a free online learning tool to assist with mental well-being

Please take care of your health and well-being, check in with your team members and those around you, and reach out if you need additional support.

What should you do if you become unwell?

If you develop flu-like symptoms (cough, fever and shortness of breath), it is important to call Healthline on 0800 358 453 or your doctor immediately.

If you get a Covid-19 test and/or are self-isolating, please fill in a staff or student Covid-19 form to let us know. This information will be kept confidential in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020.


have good days, and not-so-good days

head out for a walk and gather your thoughts, or listen to music

let people know when you’re not available

have an online social catch up with colleagues

pop to the dairy during the normal working day to avoid the rush

(. . . and to grab a bar of Whittaker’s to scoff on the way home)

talk about it

not talk about it

limit your news intake

not check your emails outside of working hours

go into survival mode and focus on what needs to be done right now

feel like you’re not being as productive as normal

take time to learn new tools and ways of working

help others get through it

ask for help

put whānau first

have a cry

have a laugh about it all

take breaks during the day to rest, stretch and breathe

ride the highs and feel the lows



your family, pets, housemates crash your calls

you’re feeling overwhelmed

you’re feeling fine

you’re out walking while attending a Zui (Zoom hui)

you take time to do something that you love, just for you

IT’S OK to ask for support if you need it.