This month marks one year since I packed up my stuff in the office and began working from home. I naively only took enough stationery to last a couple of weeks, (as I genuinely believed that’s how long I’d be out of the office) but it turns out I needed much more than that!
I’m just dreading checking my snack drawer when we can return – luckily there’s nothing fresh in there, or that would be quite gross and I’d need a nose peg to tackle the job!
Anyway, getting back on track with the topic of this post; working from home is something I’m sure a lot of us have endured for the past 11 months or more. Whilst we used to see it as a treat working from the comfort of your own home, now over a prolonged period it can become challenging for many in a variety of ways.
That’s why I’m sharing some healthy habits we should try to adopt when working from home, to ensure we’re getting a good work and home life balance.
Healthy habits when working from home
1. Take a lunch break
You need to try and treat your day as you would if you were in the office, or your place of work. So if you’d usually take a lunch break at 1pm, set an alarm and take your lunch at this time.
Obviously if you have something urgent to finish, do this first but make sure you take a break after.
Regular breaks are good for your productivity, and keeping to a routine like you would in the workplace may help with your mental wellbeing too.
2. Step away from the screen when you need to
Staring at the screen for prolonged periods of time is not good for you. Without realising it, but by working from home we are actually looking at screens for far longer than we would if we were in the workplace.
Meetings are now all done via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or another form of video call, which again means looking at your colleagues on a screen for a period of an hour or more, depending on how long the meeting runs.
Plus, we are all guilty of putting in extra time and hours within the day as we don’t need to rush off home, as we’re already there. And we don’t have any plans because the rules are to stay at home; besides nothing is open either.
With this increase in screen time, make sure you take regular breaks when you can and simply step away from the screen so that you’re not constantly staring at it. I’m sure your eyes will thank you too!
3. Set an alarm for ‘home time’
As mentioned above we’re all guilty of putting in overtime as we have nothing else to do, and we’re already home. But this is not a healthy balance.
You need to ensure you’re doing your contracted hours and you stick to them as often as possible. If you need to, I would set yourself an alarm 5 minutes before your usual finish time when you’re in the workplace. This then acts as your 5 minute warning that you need to pack up shortly, and shut down for the day.
This will also help you get into a good habit of finishing on time, meaning you’ll be more productive during the day. Whilst also putting a stop to the constant late finishes you’re currently experiencing.
4. Stay connected with colleagues
Whilst working from home can have its benefits, such as being left alone to crack on with your work without colleagues disturbing you, it can have its downsides too.
One downside being it can be lonely at times.
That’s why you need to stay connected with your colleagues. Set up groups in Teams with those you would normally chat with on your lunch break, and just drop a message in the group to check that everyone is okay.
It’s a benefit for all by doing this!
5. Update your Microsoft Teams status
It’s so important to update your status on Teams as to your current activity. (If you use it of course). As normally when you’re in the workplace, if someone comes looking for you for help or to answer a question they will obviously see that you’re busy, or you’re not there. Yet when working from home this is not possible.
People chasing you when you’re busy, or when you’ve just popped out for a quick walk on your lunch just adds to the tension and stress you’re already feeling. So by setting your status to busy or appearing away this is a huge indicator to your colleagues that you’re not instantly available when they click their fingers.
Hopefully this will help reduce your stress too when it comes to getting back to colleagues after numerous missed messages!
6. Keep to the same routine you would in the office / place of work
This is a KEY tip to take away and continually practice when working from home.
If you have a coffee at 11am or you have your lunch dead on 12:30pm then keep to this ritual. It’s important that you keep to this routine and the one that you had in the workplace, as I think this helps your mind process and deal better with your home becoming your new place of work.
I make sure I keep to the same routine because it just helps add more structure to my day. Plus, it ensures I’m on track as I would be in the office!
7. Get dressed
I know when working from home it’s easy just to lounge in your pjs or comfies, but does this actually help with your productivity?
Personally if I’m dressed scruffy then my day will feel the EXACT same, and you can bet it will be an unorganised, all over the place day!
You don’t have to be dressed up to the nines, but a smart casual attire will suffice! If you look the part then your mind will be too, and I bet you’ll have a productive day!
Not only that but you’ll feel good too! Plus, you won’t have to panic if a colleague requests a last minute video call with the camera ON that you weren’t expecting! This way you can relax as you know you’re ready to handle the call.
They say if you look good you feel good, and by feeling good you’ll be more motivated in your work. Well, I know it works for me!
Last point to note when working from home and keeping up healthy habits is to note this quote:
“You work to live – not the other way round!”– Unknown.
You should not revolve your life around work! Yes we need an income, and we don’t want to fail in our job but that doesn’t mean we need to do ridiculous hours and sacrifice our social life.
We can be productive in our contracted hours and still succeed without needing to constantly be working overtime.
Your mind and body needs rest and needs to shut off from work as that’s healthy! Plus, you have your own life outside of work too.