Remote working is still going to be a part of our lives, at least in the short term…so we’ve identified six things you can do to stay happy, healthy and productive while working from home!
These will also help you prepare for a transition from home working to working life in the ‘new normal’ after lockdown.
#1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Sticking to the same waking up and bedtime is fundamental to self care and to sleep quality. It may be tempting to stay up late to finish that box set on TV or to get up later because you don’t have any video calls until 11am, however having a disrupted sleep schedule can cause your energy levels to fluctuate and make you feel groggy. Avoid taking daytime naps if you do feel a dip in energy, it’s far more beneficial for you to get outside for your daily exercise instead! A brisk walk will give you a mood boost, reduce your stress levels and help clear your head. Or why not try our 20 minute home workouts featured in our Get Active At Home playlist on YouTube?
#2. Get ‘ready’ for work
It’s super easy to fall into the trap of spending your working from home days in your pyjamas, however some experts believe that this can actually have a negative impact on your work! They believe that the routine of actually getting ready for work plays a critical role in preparing you for your working day. By getting showered, combing your hair and putting clothes on (they can still be casual) you are sending a message to your brain that it’s not the weekend and that you are not off work sick. Getting ready physically will also get you ready mentally for the day ahead.
#3. Have a ‘home to work’ commute
Creating a ‘home to work’ commute may also be beneficial and help you transition into work in the same way that your normal commute does. This time could be anything you want it to be – listening to the radio, doing some gentle exercise reading a chapter of your book or taking the dog for a walk – just make sure you protect this time and use it wisely doing something you enjoy!
#4. Set and stick to a daily work routine
Having a work schedule can help prevent the lines between work and personal time getting blurred. If possible create a designated workspace in a quiet part of the house. Let other people that may also be at home know when you are ‘clocked on’ and are therefore unavailable to them. Your schedule may look a bit different to when you were physically going to work, but sticking to a consistent routine will help you (and other people) separate ‘work time’ from ‘home time’.
#5. Take a lunch break
It’s really easy to treat your day like a continuous buffet when you are working from home and continuous snacking on junk will inevitably lead to weight gain. Having an actual lunch break, when you sit down to eat a real lunch, will really help you tackle this. You may find it helpful to prepare your lunch in advance as you would if you were going in to work, or at the very least plan what you are going to have. There are some great ideas for quick and healthy lunches on our Let’s Cook YouTube playlist and in our new Take Five cookbook which you can get by subscribing to our email list. Also, make sure you stay hydrated by filling up a water bottle and keeping it on your desk.
Make sure you build in plenty screen breaks to prevent eye-strain and get up from your desk if you’re feeling stiff or tense and try doing some light stretching. Making time for breaks is also important to help manage feelings of stress. Give yourself time to concentrate on something else so you feel more focused when you return. Even just a few minutes of short breaks each hour can really help your productivity too.
#6. Have a clock off time
To be as effective as possible you need to know when to quit for the day! It’s really easy to fall into the trap of working into the evening and saying you’ll just quickly check a couple of emails, but overtime this can be harmful to your health. Set your clocking off time and make every effort to end your working day then. In the same way as you have a ‘home to work commute’ it my also be helpful to have a ‘work to home’ routine too. This would include closing down your computer, turning off your work ‘phone, getting changed and getting organised for dinner. Make sure that once you are clocked off, that’s it until the next day.
Working from home presents a number of challenges to our mental and physical wellbeing, and that’s why looking after yourself is so important! Having routines and boundaries will also help you make the transition from home working to working life as lockdown eases and we start life in the new normal.
You may also find our Improving Wellbeing page helpful as it has some great tips for mental wellbeing and the NHS has also produced a useful guide to home working too.