Remote working is here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future). Whether you’ve relocated to the spare room temporarily or plan to work from home on a more regular basis, creating a good ‘home working’ environment is essential. It’s where you’ll be spending 8 hours a day, after all.
As the office is a designated physical place of work, it can be challenging to create separation between the workday and leisure time when working from home. There’s no commute or concrete walls to signify that ‘work’ has begun. At home, the workday commences when you start up your machine and ends when you close it down. The lines of your personal time become blurred. Dealing with both work and family responsibilities can be a tricky balancing act, especially given the unfamiliar nature of Covid.
1 in 5 have reported increased loneliness and an impact on their mental health while working from home
The trick to creating a good WFH environment is a lot like creating a good sleep routine: consistency, separation, and good habits. We’ve compiled a list of the best habits and tips for maintaining productivity and personal wellbeing while you work from home.
1. Create a workspace
Choose a designated room or area of the house to work in and stick to it (preferably not the bedroom as this should be a place of rest). This will become your fixed place of work and help create separation between downtime and working hours. Invest in a comfortable chair, or use some pillows to create good support at your desk. Your back will thank you.
Have everything you need ready to go at the start of the day: pens, chargers, water. This will help you to stay focused on your tasks and avoid distractions.
2. Establish a routine and stick to it
Without regular schedules, we can get thrown out of sync. This allows the lines between work and personal time to become more blurred, which can be detrimental to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Going to bed, waking up, and starting work at the same time each day will help create structure and routine.
Substitute your ‘commute time’ with an activity like reading or walking, or listening to a good podcast.
Try to avoid working in your PJs or lounging clothes; you might struggle to get into a work mind frame.
3. Take regular breaks
Working from home can create the urge to be ‘available’ or online to colleagues at all times. But this isn’t the case in the office, and it shouldn’t be the case when working from home. Being always ‘present’ can be ruinous to both your mental wellbeing and productivity.
Make time throughout the day to take regular short breaks. Stretch, drink a glass of water, or fix yourself a herbal tea - this will help with your concentration and focus.
Try to take your full lunch break as well. This is your personal time to have something to eat and take a little time to yourself. If you can, go for a quick 15-minute walk after eating, you’ll return to your work feeling refreshed and reenergized.
4. Put the good stuff in
The body is like a car. If you put poor fuel in, it’s not going to run very well.
Avoid consuming too much sugar, caffeine, and processed food. Although satisfying at the time, these foods cause instant spikes in your blood glucose levels, which inevitably lead to a crash.
Whole foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables are high in fiber - filling you up and helping to maintain your energy levels throughout the day. They’re also rich in antioxidants, which will help keep your immune system functioning well.
5. Unplug at the end of the day
Switch off your computer and email notifications for the evening, turn your phone WiFi off at 9 pm, and don’t recheck it until starting work the next morning.
Although the impulse to check it first thing is tempting, research has shown that your mind benefits from not being bombarded with notifications and problems as soon as you wake up. You’ll give yourself clarity and mental headspace to approach the day.
Remember: Be kind to yourself; this is a new and unfamiliar situation for everyone. Take each day as it comes, and don’t forget to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished each week.