Working from home has certainly changed the modern working environment and it’s not for everyone.
It can be especially challenging for extroverts that enjoy having regular interactions and conversations with others in the office. The informal chats in the kitchen are often missed, the office banter and the ability to casually ask your colleagues questions.
It is often the opposite experience for introverts however, who value their space and love working remotely.
Working times provide more flexibility and the opportunity to escape into a virtual world without the need for physical interactions, in-person meetings and small talk with colleagues.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter if you’re an extrovert or introvert, you could be struggling with certain aspects of working at home or would like to improve your daily routine somehow. If so, the following advice will help you.
Make sure you block out an hour in your diary each day for exercise. You can go for a run, walk, bike ride, hit the gym or work out at home. In any case, make sure you commit to one hour of exercise per day.
Why? Because it relieves stress, enhances your focus, is a form of relaxation for your mind, body and soul, can help you to remain calm and more balanced throughout the day.
For me personally, I like to go for an hour walk each morning before work near the water. There’s something about the energy of water. It makes me feel relaxed and at peace.
Also, try to push yourself a little. Sweat it out and get your heart rate up, which will burn fat, calories and help to detox your body.
2. Set up your work station properly
Make sure your workspace at home is set up properly. This is about ergonomics.
So, what is ergonomics and why is it important? It is the process of planning, designing or arranging workplaces and systems to fit the specific needs of its users. In a workplace, this involves ensuring you are sitting in the correct position at your desk to avoid injuries.
It is important to know what the best sitting position is for you. For instance, some general recommendations are to keep your upper body within 30 degrees of an upright position, feet flat on the floor, elbows at an angle between 90-120 degrees, etc.
If you’re unsure, google it or better yet, ask someone from the WHS department in your workplace to help you properly set up your home office.
In addition, make sure you get up and stretch every half hour or hour to avoid your muscles from tightening and creating unnecessary pain and headaches. Very important!
3. Get some sun
Make sure you get some direct sunlight daily, if possible. Even if it’s for 10 minutes, it is beneficial for you.
Go for a brisk walk in the park, or if you’re really time poor, sit in your backyard in the sun for a few minutes. It will make you feel good, boost your vitamin D levels (many people around the world lack vitamin D!) which is really important for your immune system and it is a good excuse to take a break! Sun is also good for your skin if you don’t overdo it – it gives you a nice, healthy glow.
4. Add greenery to the space around you
Having plants around you is known to reduce stress and enhance concentration, not to mention livens up a space! Even if they’re artificial plants, they still have the same effect.
5. Make a daily ‘to-do’ list
Having a daily ‘to-do’ list can help you to prioritise tasks for the day and better manage time. This can reduce stress, improve your focus and productivity.
Stress is elevated when you have too many urgent tasks due and no structure set in place to manage the workload. By planning and organising your time well you can achieve much more in less time.
6. Set healthy boundaries
It’s very easy for work colleagues to become work ‘buddies’ overtime. This is good however, if you haven’t made it clear to yourself first what your boundaries are and set them, your work ‘buddies’ can slowly start to invade your space, affecting your work performance and general well-being.
So, make sure you know what your boundaries are and stick to them. For instance, a common issue that arises is when a friend talks to you too much and starts to affect your work productivity. If this starts to happen, block out some ‘busy’ time in your diary each day. This is time set aside that is ‘meeting free’ and ‘talk free’ to enable you to focus on getting work done!
7. Eat healthily
It’s tempting to snack throughout the day when you’re working at home, but try to avoid it. Instead, have a proper meal at breakfast, lunch and dinner. This should fill you up and sustain you throughout the day.
If you must snack, make sure it’s healthy. Consider eating veggies, fruits and rice crackers. Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Sometimes you can mistake dehydration for hunger!
8. Temperature control
Make sure your workspace is comfortable. If you are too hot or too cold it can affect your concentration and even make you sick.
Ensure you regularly open your windows to get some fresh air flow through your place.
Open the blinds and let some sun in, just make sure your eyes and computer screen are protected from direct sunlight.
This will freshen up your place and remove stale air, which helps to prevent mould from forming.
9. Manage work-life balance
It’s tempting to work longer hours when you’re at home, as you don’t have to commute to and from the office. Keep this habit in check by setting your work hours and sticking to it.
Of course, there may be times when you have something urgent due and you’ll need to work back, but for the most part try to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This is vital for your health, particularly your mental health.
10. Keep in touch with colleagues
Keeping in regular contact with your team is important to make sure your colleagues are doing well and to stay on top of priorities.
It is also healthy to maintain social interactions with your colleagues, especially for people that are living alone. This may mean having regular ‘check in’ meetings and making the occasional phone call to chat to one another.
In summary, working at home can be beneficial for many reasons. There is no commuting time, greater flexibility, more can be accomplished in a day and it’s a comfortable working environment.
Whilst there are many benefits, it’s good to be aware of the potential downfalls and to keep a healthy ‘working from home’ routine and environment by following the advice provided.
Make it work for you!