Working At Home Can Create A Unique Set of Challenges, Especially When It Comes to Your Health.
I moved my business to my home in 2012 and I admit that transitioning from an office to working at home can be challenging. Something as simple as setting up your files and organizing the workspace, plus, you need to get the equipment needed to perform your business. I also had to get used to not having others around me with different skill sets to ask questions or assist with projects. Once I got past that process, I find that I love the flexibility and independence that I have now.
Working at home is a fantastic opportunity as it allows you to avoid commuting, set your hours, have more time for family and friends, and avoid the pitfalls of working in an office. But unfortunately, it can also be a little more of a challenge to be healthier since your office is now in your home environment. In addition, there are potential distractions and a kitchen at your disposal.
These tips are going to help you stay healthy even while working at home.
1. Create A Routine
When you work in an office, you have a set routine that you follow. Your day usually consists of getting up, showering, dressing, commuting, working, and going home.
Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you have to throw all that away. What that routine looks like is up to you but can include laying out your clothes the night before, getting up at the same time every day, having the same breakfast every day, blocking out work time and family time, etc.
Creating rituals for yourself can reduce stress and “automate” your day. Productivity expert, Tonya Dalton, author of The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less, offers a great perspective of helping you know where to start.
Creating a routine can be particularly helpful if you have children or a family that requires attention. For example, if you and your partner have to tag teamwork and be with the kids, scheduling who gets to work when will help keep you both sane and minimize resentment.
2. Have a (Work) Game Plan
Your schedule might change from time to time. Remember, that’s okay, but having consistency will give you a clear idea of what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed. Try organizing your schedule before you start work or even the day before, if possible.
Structure your day as you would if you punch a time clock. Inform family members about interruptions. Explain what constitutes a necessity to be interrupted. Other important considerations are to:
- Identify what is important to you, and clarify your priorities.
- Develop ways to streamline your specific workflow
- Doing less can be more productive because you are doing work that is important.
3. Find Ways to Get Fresh Air
When working at home, you tend to spend most of the daylight hours inside your home. But, it’s not a good idea to be held hostage by your house. So, instead, make plans to go for a walk even in rain, snow, or sunshine. No excuses!
Another option is to plan for lunch at a nearby park or a table outside. Suppose its’ raining, then go to a nearby café. Do not eat your lunch at your desk! Walk a dog-Any Dog! Opt for being the one to take Fido out. If you don’t have a dog, do your neighbor a favor, or look for volunteering to pick up something for someone. If you cannot leave, then open the window and welcome as much fresh air as possible.
4 Don’t Just Sit Around
When you’re working at home, it’s easy to stick to a chair all day. However, sitting all the time isn’t healthy at home or the office. If working on your feet is your preference, invest in a standing desk (or create your custom standing desk). Also, switch up the scenery, but make sure you can still focus.
Standing up, stretching, and moving around every 30 minutes are beneficial to your health and well-being. So go beyond the fridge when you move around. If you don’t need to be in front of your computer for conference calls, wear your Bluetooth headphones and walk around your house during meetings.
5. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
Let’s face it, in an office, we take lots of mini breaks, be it filling up your water bottle, walking to the corner coffee shop, or chatting with your colleagues. But when working from home, it’s easy to spend the entire day alone in one or two rooms.
So, be sure to schedule breaks to do things like clean the dishes or chores. Or take a stretching break instead of eating. You will find that those few pauses will make you more productive. In addition, even something as minor as listening to good uninterrupted music can give you something to look forward to and make your day more enjoyable.
6. Prep and Pack Your Meals and Snacks
The good news is that your work-at-home meals don’t have to be a drag. You have more opportunities to eat well since you have a kitchen at your disposal. Treat working at home as you would a job outside the home by preparing all your meals and snacks ahead of time. If time is limited during your workday, soak and pre-cut your vegetable snacks. For example, soak or cut sticks of celery and carrots ahead of time so that they’re easy to grab and don’t require peeling every time you want to eat them. This will keep you from munching on unhealthy snacks all day instead of eating well-balanced meals.
You can still eat quality foods that surpass what you get from most fast lunch options with a bit of prep time. Cook your breakfast in the morning, then prep your snacks and lunch for the day ahead of time. That way, you don’t take too much time away from work every time you need to have a meal or snack, and you already have the healthy snacks all planned out.
Cook meals for lunch that you can consume half of and save the other half for dinner, especially if you’re making more than you think you need. This is a real-time saver, especially if you can simply heat it up and eat it with no dishes to clean up.
To be successful and avoid snacking, set a schedule for meal breaks and stay on target. Examples of what foods work well are smoothies, energy bites, hummus deviled eggs, soups, and a one-pan taco bowl works well for lunch and snacks
7. Socialize. Socialize. Socialize.
It’s common to feel lonely and isolated while working at home. For extroverts, the situation may be even more challenging. But, don’t worry, you can still communicate with your coworkers without physically being together. For instance, regularly check in with your team through email, chat, or video calls.
You can also try opening an invite to lunch or a happy hour video call. DJ Haddad, the CEO of Haddad & Partners, says his remote team interacts often. They stay connected by chatting about everything, from books to children. Plus, the group sometimes has live chats.
If you’re the type of person who wants to relax as soon as the workday is over, then you can head right into your virtual happy hour with coworkers as a way to stay connected and then heat your pre-made dinner.
8. Resist Multitasking
Working at home may seem like a great time to make progress on house chores. However, trying to accomplish work and housework simultaneously creates issues. You’ll be more distracted and less productive. Doing chores during breaks might backfire too. You’ll be tempted to finish them instead of getting back to work on time.
To avoid at-home distractions, schedule chores before and after work. This could include laundry and preparing meals or snacks. Also, don’t turn on the TV while you’re working at home, even as background noise. If you don’t do it at the office, don’t do it while working at home.
9. Prepare for a Social Media Diet
How many times do you think you check social media per day? Now, take that number and multiply it by 25. It takes an average of about 25 minutes to return to the original task after interruption. It’s very tempting to spend too much time on social media while working at home. It’s nice to be accessible, but it can harm your productivity at work.
Experts suggest logging out of every account on your browser and mobile phone. Make sure you’re not signed in to your accounts and also use a private browser window. On Chrome, it’s called going “Incognito.” If you’re still tempted to browse social media, download a blocking tool and set up your work hours. It will not tempt you to spend time on an unproductive activity.
10. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
When working at home, you think you need to be very disciplined to succeed. Being hard on yourself may be ineffective, it is a pattern that is hard to break. It requires consistent attention and practice. Working from an unconventional space requires more focus skills. However, everyone zones out from time to time, so don’t feel like you’re alone.
You may find yourself working one moment and reading the news next. If you do, don’t brutally criticize yourself. Instead, take a step back and think if people do the same thing in an office environment, and they do, so give yourself a break, regroup and focus on your priority project.
11. When Working At Home There’s a Better Time for Calls
The impact of so many people working from home now has changed the way people do business. Flexible work locations and schedules have made sales call trends more unpredictable than before. Schedule your calls in the afternoon. Morning is usually the best time to be productive. So take on priority assignments in the morning and leave phone calls and meetings for later.
According to a recent study based on more than two million responses to meeting invites, the best time to book a highly productive meeting is Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. However, if you can’t make that work, mid-afternoon and mid-week meetings are just as good.
Surprisingly, the best time of the day to cold call a prospect is between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in their local time. A 2020 Study by Gong found that Wednesday and Thursday remain the best days of the week to call prospects. This finding is not surprising. After all, people are usually gearing up for the weekend on Friday and aren’t interested in starting a relationship with a salesperson.
12. How to End Your Workday
Starting your day with a routine is a good idea. Creating a habit at the end of the workday is an excellent idea too. This could involve logging out of your company’s messaging app, signing out of email applications, and shutting down your laptop.
It might also be tidying up your workspace, taking a live workout class in your living room, and preparing meals and snacks ahead of time. Whatever you decide, make sure to step away from your workspace and not go back to work until the following day.
By working from home, your health does not need to default to an unhealthy way of life. Forgetting to choose healthy habits does not need to be your downfall. Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated, and shop with an emphasis on local produce and home cooking most of the time. With just a little extra preparation, you can eat, move and breathe during the workday. Making yourself a priority in a relaxed way will nurture your health and well-being. See working from home not as a hassle but as an opportunity for taking care of yourself.
Shirley Noah, Founder and CEO of In Good Health Coach, has a background in research, journalism, and stress management. As a wife and mom of four, she turned to research and took health into her hands to find answers to her health problems. InGoodHealthCoach.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and posts about health and stress management. If you are looking for peace, tips on how to treat yourself right, sleeping soundly, living with gratitude, discover the “secret playbook” to put an end to the stress and drama check out “Self Care the Art of A Happier More Peaceful Self”