How to Stay Happy, Healthy and Productive While Working from Home
- Mar 18, 2020
Working remotely has its perks: peace and quiet, no commute, comfortable clothes, a home-cooked lunch and being in the comfort of your own home, among others. It also comes with challenges, however, such as isolation, loneliness and a lack of routine and work-life balance. If you find yourself having to work from home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, you may be concerned about these downsides and wondering how to curb them – especially when experts and authorities are also recommending “social distancing” outside of work.
The good news is, thousands of people work from home regularly while managing to thrive and keep their sanity. So how do they do it? We’ve scoured Twitter for some of the best tips from WFH pros, and here’s what many of them recommend.
Keep a morning routine
It may be tempting to roll out of bed, stay in your pajamas and forego your morning shower when you start your work from home day. However, WFH veterans recommend keeping to a normal morning routine. That should include setting an alarm, changing out of your pajamas into daytime (but comfortable) clothes, showering and brushing your teeth, making coffee and a healthy breakfast, etc. – things you would normally do as if you were going into the office. This will help you get a more intentional start to the day, signal to yourself that it’s time to be productive and give you a sense of normalcy.
Stick to a schedule
For many reasons, it’s extra important to stick to a schedule when working from home. For one, it fosters better work-life balance by allowing you to clearly delineate when work starts and stops. It will also help you adhere to a routine and remember to take breaks throughout the day.
Set a morning alarm and aim to start work around the same time every day. In addition, set a hard stop time for the workday. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean the workday never ends. You’re entitled to free time in the evening! Schedule in breaks, too, including a real lunch break – which doesn’t mean eating over your desk while you work.
Have a designated work space
Working from home shouldn’t mean working from bed. WFH regulars advise against working from the same place where you sleep and/or relax, such as your bed or couch. If you can, work from a desk or desk-like space. It will simulate your normal work environment, create more work-life balance and increase your productivity.
Stay connected with colleagues
Even though they may drive you crazy, you’d be surprised how much you can miss your co-workers when everyone is working from home. It’s crucial to stay connected with them, not just to ensure the proper communication is happening regarding projects, but for collaboration, creativity and morale as well. Have casual conversations too, which helps lighten the mood and break up the workday.
Thankfully, technology has made this kind of communication easier and more accessible than ever. Use collaboration software like Basecamp, Trello or Asana; messaging platforms like Slack; or conference call, video chat and screen sharing tools like Skype, Google Hangouts Meet, GoToMeeting, UberConference or Zoom.
Add some background noise
Working in complete silence may seem like a good thing, but in reality, it can make you feel even lonelier than you already do. Adding some background noise by putting on a TV show, music or podcasts can mimic being in the office with your co-workers chattering. If it gets too distracting, try playing some classical music, white noise or other media that does not have words.
Squeeze in a workout
While you’re working from home, why not work out from home too? Whether you do it in the morning, at lunchtime or after the workday is done, an at-home workout is a great way to stay healthy, keep your body moving and get your energy and spirits up. Check YouTube for hundreds of free workout videos, or download an app like Nike Training Club, Aaptiv, Sworkit, Freeletics or MyFitnessPal. If you’re already a member of a gym, check if they offer online fitness classes you can do at home.
It can be hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re not in your normal work environment. Try to drink the same amount of water you usually drink in the office, if not more. As an added bonus, it will force you to get up and move around often to refill your water and take bathroom breaks.