Archive for December, 2021

The Yorkshire and Humber speciality registrar committee spent time reflecting on 2021, with a focus on the challenges we have faced and the positive things which have supported wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen working from home become the norm for many public health professionals, and this was prominent in our conversations.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the proportion of working adults who did any work from home increased in 2020, and 85% of those currently homeworking wanted to use a “hybrid” approach of both home and office working in future1. If working from home is to become a norm of working life, we must work together to support wellbeing.


The pandemic has had a profound effect on everybody. There are some aspects which we cannot control and must live with. This can leave us feeling quite bleak and such feelings are particularly prominent at times when restrictions change.

Many registrars have undertaken placements without meeting their colleagues in person. A lack of human interaction face to face left people feeling disconnected. There is more challenge in building relationships with colleagues and partners.

The line between work and life can become blurred. People might be working at their dining table or in their bedroom. As well as this physical blurring of work and home, there is a psychological blurring too. There are back to back meetings which might not leave much time for admin and replying to emails. It is “easier” to start early or stay late.  It is “easy” to pop back to your work area.

Culture and leadership really set the tone for wellbeing. In Yorkshire and Humber, registrars receive regular wellbeing check in calls from the Head of School and Training Programme Directors. I extend thanks on behalf of the registrar body to the School of Public Health Team for their support and for setting the tone for a positive culture. These tips are based on experiences in our region which have been helpful. 

Top tips to support wellbeing for organisations and leaders

  1. Create mini breaks by starting meetings at five past the hour
  2. Encourage protected time for lunch, including getting outside during day light hours in winter
  3. Encourage meeting free time each week (e.g. 1 meeting free day per week)
  4. Thanking people for good work they have done
  5. Flexibility in working hours
  6. Hold regular meetings that help teams to keep in touch (e.g. weekly registrar catch ups)
  7. Offer walking meetings using telephone rather than video conferencing where able
  8. Consider optional weekly wellness sessions (e.g. desk-based stretches, mindfulness)
  9. Care about people – share good news, respect their personal circumstances, support time off if people are unwell
  10. Lead by example – be open about vulnerability, take annual leave, block out lunch breaks, have meeting free days

Top tips to support wellbeing for individuals

  1. Being kind to yourself
  2. Shut the computer at breaks and the end of the day
  3. Set your out of office on none working days
  4. Taking you work emails off your phone
  5. Organise your time to include breaks and meeting free time
  6. Go out during the daylight
  7. Take time to exercise
  8. Remind yourself of things to look forward to, no matter how small!
  9. Work on your support network e.g. action learning set, peer coaching

Dr. Jaimee Wylam
Public Health Registrar

  1. Business and individual attitudes towards the future of homeworking, UK – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

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