With most of America in a state of lock-down following the surging cases of coronavirus, and many companies who have their workers hunker down remotely – working from home can present a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to your health.
Get showered and dressed:
Dress as if you were heading out to the office. This will put you in a work frame of mind. Lounging around in your pjs is not conducive to productivity.
Set Up a Separate Office Space:
Use a space in your home that’s designated solely for work. Bringing in work materials can interfere with your ability to relax later on. And working from your couch can create mental associations that keep your mind occupied with professional obligations, even during off-hours. Even if you live in a tiny studio, set up a desk and chair and separate the professional from the personal.
Choose a good Chair:
Invest in a comfortable, ergonomically sound chair that will keep you properly aligned throughout the day, or ditch the chair altogether. Use a standing desk to give your back a break and reduce your overall long-term mortality risk. Get Up every hour and at least once a day.
Get up at least once an hour and get outdoors at least once a day:
It can be easy to get stuck in your seat, especially since you feel comfortable in your space. Set a timer or use an app to remind you to get up and stretch once every hour, and make sure to get outside, even just to walk around the block and get some sunshine and fresh air.
Set a schedule and stick to it:
It can be tempting to wake up late and work at odd hours, but you will benefit your mental health and the quality of your work by setting a schedule as if you were going into the office. Then: Stick to those hours.
When you create your schedule, use the flexibility to your advantage. Schedule your workouts as you do meetings — but pencil them in before you begin working, during lunch or after hours.
Create a soothing environment:
Staying home means you have free rein over your surroundings, so make your work area soothing and keep your stress level under control. If you love scented candles, place them around your desk. If a beautiful view helps you stay calm, set up your desk in front of a window or within eyesight of artwork you enjoy.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance by logging your time and setting limits.
Track your hours and keep yourself accountable. Don’t let work bleed over into your personal time, or vice versa. Avoid working on weekends if you can, and keep an eye on how much time you’re spending on work every day.
Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meals.
It can be easy to wander into the kitchen when you know it’s packed with treats, so keep temptation at bay by buying fresh fruits and vegetables, and keeping the candy and junk food out of sight.
Stay in Touch:
It’s important to have some social connection, even in the physical absence of coworkers. Maintaining healthy social connections improves your overall well-being and helps you stay motivated.
Working from home also means you’re virtually isolated; staying in touch with your co-workers via an online internal communication system will go a long way to dealing with that feeling. Apart from work-related issues, find out how your co-workers are dealing with their isolation, and possibly coping with family distractions, especially kids who are not at school during these times. You’re probably balancing your own time with ensuring they complete their online assignments and stay active.
It’s not easy, but with strength and determination, it’s likely we’ll come out of this much better all round.