For many of us, working from home has become the norm during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some people like the routine of going to the office, but Safer At Home laws have prevented this from happening until further notice. Since most people thrive on routine, working from home can pose many problems. On the other hand, a lot of people may enjoy working from home. Staying in pajamas all day, writing emails from the couch, or tuning into a conference from your bed can sound appealing at first, but it may pose challenges that you never saw coming.
The divide between work life and home life is powerful and necessary. Working from home can blur those lines between work and personal hours, causing you to become sidetracked and less productive. You don’t want to dive down a YouTube rabbit hole about DIY home improvement when you are supposed to be editing newsletters, creating graphics, managing spreadsheets, going over footage, or writing articles for your job. Additionally, the challenge to work from home with children in the house can create infinite distractions.
All of that said, there are some benefits to working from home, so long as you hold yourself accountable for completing daily tasks. While we cannot be your at-home work coach to make sure you do your work, we can help you stay healthy during these work from home times. You’ll find seven tips to help you stay healthy while working from home below.
Set Up A Workspace
If you expect to do your work from your bed, recliner chair, or couch, think again. You’ll most likely end up napping. When you make the switch to at-home work, it’s important to set up a designated workspace. You’ll keep your resources here and it’ll be home base when you are on the clock. Consider factors like noise level, physical comfort, location, and lighting. Natural light is very important, and other studies have shown that adding plants to the area helps to lower stress levels. Additionally, a designated workspace helps trigger a working mindset.
When you work from home, it is easy to slip into your home life persona. This is why you need to set boundaries and let family members know that you are off limits while you are working. Setting up the previously mentioned workspace can help establish these boundaries. Obviously, situations can arise and you can handle them accordingly, but use your lunch breaks and pre- and post-work hours for family time or personal time.
Don’t Lose Your Daily Routine
Most people have their morning routines, and you shouldn’t lose them just because you are working from home. The only difference is that you don’t have to commute. Treat every morning the same! If you shower in the morning to get ready, don’t let the home office get in the way of that. And dress yourself, please. While you may not need to put on professional attire, you shouldn’t be in your pajamas all day. Eat your breakfast before you start working and take several breaks throughout the day, or do 20 squats every hour to keep the blood flowing.
Stay Away From The Kitchen
All-day access to your own kitchen is one of the most dangerous parts of working from home. Your entire fridge, cupboards, and pantry are waiting for you to reach in for treats, but don’t be tempted by what’s inside. You may find it beneficial to pack your lunch, or set aside specific snacks and lunches that are healthily portioned. In fact, meal prepping is a great idea to keep yourself from overeating while working from home.
Stay Connected With Coworkers
Studies have shown that a social work environment contributes to healthier employees. You shouldn’t lose your daily interactions with coworkers just because you have to work from home. In fact, some people may need to collaborate with coworkers to complete projects. Use apps like Zoom or Skype to stay connected and work together when necessary.
Make it a point to hydrate with water throughout the day. You can fill up a cup every hour or fill up your reusable bottle a couple times per day. Dehydration can lead to headaches or fatigue, which can decrease alertness and productivity. Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day.
Establish A Shutdown Ritual
At the end of the workday, you know that you need to pack up your things and get ready to go home. Well, since you are already at home, you essentially would just have to leave your workspace and go to your living room, or wherever makes you happy. Don’t let your workday bleed into life after work. Your shutdown ritual doesn’t have to be intense; rather, it can be as simple as shutting down your computer, closing your laptop, or leaving the house for a stroll.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t let the comfort of your own home get in the way of work productivity. Organize, schedule, and set boundaries to help you establish a healthier you and a healthier workflow.