Millions of people left the office and started working from home when COVID-19 began.
The change was a welcome one for many, with 66% of them saying they would prefer to work remotely full time, even after the pandemic ends. Another 33% say they’d enjoy a combination of in-person and remote work.
It turns out that increased job flexibility can significantly reduce anxiety in your personal and professional lives. If you manage time wisely, remote work can even equip you to take better care of your mental, emotional and physical needs. However, not everyone is thriving while working from home. As the pandemic drags on, the line between your job and home life can blur and heighten stress levels.
Luckily, a simple shift in priorities can help you feel good again and dramatically improve your health and happiness. Change your habits and life for the better with the 10 tips below.
Anyone who’s worked even a day at home knows how distracting their surroundings can be. From noisy kids to barking dogs to the laundry sitting in the dryer, there are a million and one things to grab your attention and take your mind off work. That’s why it’s so important to establish a dedicated workspace, ideally behind closed doors.
Whether it be a home office or a small corner of your bedroom, creating and maintaining a quiet space is key to preserving your mental and physical health. If you still can’t concentrate, consider working in a public area like a coffee shop or tea parlour. Sometimes, simply surrounding yourself with other remote workers is all it takes to light a fire under your arse and get you to work.
A flexible schedule allows you to personalize your workday and choose hours that support your responsibilities. However, it also leaves a lot of room for procrastination. If you find yourself starting too late, taking frequent breaks and working into the wee hours of the morning, it’s time to rethink your routine.
Reestablish predictability by starting and finishing work at the same time each day. You might even take breaks at the same time to further simplify your workday. That way, you don’t have to rework your agenda — and rewire your brain — to adapt to an ever-changing schedule.
Does your back ache every time you stand up from your desk? Perhaps your neck and shoulders are sore. If so, you’re probably due for a new office chair.
Invest in an ergonomic one that supports good posture and get a footstool if your hips hurt. Make sure your desk height allows your arms to rest at a 90-degree angle, and keep your monitor at eye level. Your keyboard should be an arms-length away to support your shoulders and spine.
People have been practising meditation for thousands of years, and when you consider the benefits, it’s easy to see why. This mind-body medicine can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance unlike anything else. Meditation can also improve focus and concentration, which can easily boost your productivity. Even a few minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health, so why not start today?
Download an app for guided meditations or spend a few minutes with your eyes closed, simply focusing on your breath. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel afterwards.
Some people spend up to 90% of their time indoors and that was before the pandemic forced everyone to stay home. Now, you might spend the entire day inside. Many individuals concern themselves with outdoor air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, but your remote workspace’s air quality has an even bigger impact on your health.
An air purifier can alleviate symptoms and help you breathe easily, whether you have pre existing respiratory conditions or hardly suffer from allergies. Some even remove viruses and volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene, which are toxic and carcinogenic.
Did you know that sitting for more than 30 minutes can increase your risk of diabetes, weight gain, depression, dementia and even cancer? That’s alarming news for people who sit in front of a computer screen all day. It’s crucial to get up and move every half hour or so, whether you work from home, in a coffee shop or at the office.
Set a timer to remind yourself to get up and stretch. A few simple toe touches or sun salutations will do. However, if you can swing a walk around the block, you’ll likely notice even more drastic improvements to your physical and mental health. Do what you can, when you can, and you’re sure to see a difference.
Some people never talk about it, but working from home can be incredibly lonely. Unlike in a physical workplace, there’s no communal break room or opportunities to chat with colleagues you pass by in the hallway. Take kids, pets and spouses out of the equation and it’s just you and your laptop, sitting alone in a quiet room. It can get pretty disheartening after a while.
That’s why it’s so important to invest in virtual connections, even if you’re hesitant at first. Sure, meeting new people on Zoom can be awkward, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from making friends. Join virtual happy hours, game nights, meet and greets, and any other fun work events your employer hosts. Odds are you’ll feel happier and more connected once you can spot a few familiar faces in weekly or monthly gatherings.
A healthier, happier work-from-home life starts and ends with you. Take control of your schedule and reclaim that oft-coveted work-life balance by investing in your mental and physical health. The more diligent and self-disciplined you can be, the better. Stick with it and keep developing healthy habits. If you’re consistent, you’re sure to see the benefits in no time.