Many people are experiencing working from home for the first time this year. But for bloggers, freelancers and those who run their own businesses, the world of home-working is nothing new.
Whether you’re an old hand at the home office life or it’s new to you, one thing that’s important to bear in mind is that you make your health a priority when working from home.
Finding a balance isn’t always easy, but there are changes you can make to your routine and your work environment to help you keep your health on track.
Don’t let working from home affect your health, take the following steps to help you keep on top of things.
Make sure your work area is fit for purpose
Whether working from home is a permanent solution or not, you need to make sure that the area you work can support you in working safely and without disturbance. Some key work from home tips include having a desk with an adjustable chair, and having plenty of natural light. It’s good to have an area which is nice and quiet, and where people won’t be walking in easily.
Ensure you’ve got all the right equipment and assess your comfort regularly. If you have any issues with your neck, back and shoulders or you start having headaches, then you might need to change some things around.
Get yourself into a good routine
A good routine is important when working from home. Without an office and set working hours to give you some structure, it’s important that you set them for yourself. If you can set yourself some working hours, you’ll find it much easier to settle into a routine that works day after day.
A good morning routine when working from home will help you get yourself ready for the working day. If you’re at your most productive in the morning, then work to find ways to make use of that productivity and get the hard tasks done, leaving you with the afternoons for more general admin and planning work.
Remember to take screen breaks
When you work from home, it can be difficult to tear yourself away. You could spend your whole day at your desk, having coffee and lunch there without really having a proper break. But too much screen time can be a bad thing for your eyes, causing them to strain and affect your vision.
If you need glasses to be able to work at your computer, you can get some cheaper styles that will help you see more comfortably. Get your eyes checked regularly and consider buying some display equipment that’s kinder to your eyes.
Leave your house where possible
Being at home day after day can soon get repetitive, and even lonely. By making an effort to leave your house when you can, you’ll be getting some much-needed physical distance from work while making sure that you get some social interaction. Whether it means meeting colleagues or clients nearby, or even using a co-working space now and then, try to look for opportunities that will help you beat cabin fever and still maintain a connection to the real world.
Speak to people
It’s very easy to do all of your communications by email, but this way of working could mean you go days without speaking to another person, especially if you live on your own. Try to break up the day with phone calls and video chats, you’ll soon realize the value of having some of those real-time conversations versus trying to decide everything on email.
If your work means you can’t speak to people much during the day, make sure you connect with people outside of work. Seeing and speaking to friends and family is important, and will help you retain some sense of normality.
Get dressed and ready for work
When you get dressed for going into work, you’re helping to get yourself into the mindset of work. Most likely, your work clothes are different to the clothes you’d wear to meet friends or go for a night out, helping you appear and act more professionally. If you’d do it to go into the office, why not try it at home as well? Instead of stumbling out of bed and straight to your home office, getting up that little earlier and getting yourself ready for the day could completely change your approach to working from home. With more and more people embracing video calls since the coronavirus outbreak, it won’t hurt to maintain a smart appearance in front of your screen.
Take a real lunch break (and eat healthily)
It’s easy to work through your lunch when you work at home. Eating at your desk can seem like a good idea, but a lunch break is important to help you enjoy a breather and give yourself some time to recharge.
Your lunch break is a good time to go and get some fresh air, enjoy a change scenery and do something completely unrelated to work. It will help break up your day and make it easier to plan our your schedule.
Remember to eat healthily too. There are a lot of amazing healthy lunch ideas you can make easily from your kitchen to give you an energy boost and to keep your mind and body healthy.
Regular exercise is important for keeping your energy levels up, and it’s also good for combatting the effects of sitting at a desk all day! You can fit in exercise as part of your day, either by working out before you start work, at lunch or after work. With no commuting time, it should be easier to find the time to exercise.
Why not consider doing some outdoor exercise? You’ll benefit mentally from being outside, and you can also find plenty of great ways to exercise for free. Mix it up to avoid getting stuck in a rut, and soon you’ll have the perfect fitness routine to fit in with working from home.
Learn how to switch off
One of the downsides of working from home is being unable to switch off. It’s easy to go back to your laptop after dinner or check your emails on your phone, but these habits are unhealthy and will stop you from getting the rest you need to banish stress and stay well.
Be strict with yourself about your working hours. A cut-off time will allow you to separate your day, and give you the chance to make time for other activities, as well as chilling. If you’ve constantly got an eye on work, you’ll never truly relax, and will soon start to associate your home with the stress you can experience at work. It can take some getting used to but some willpower will help encourage some good habits.
By learning to switch off from work in the evenings and on weekends, you’ll be able to maintain a much better work/life balance. This will come in handy when you take some vacation days and really need to leave work behind for a while.
Working from home comes with many great benefits, and more people are discovering how working from home can improve their working lives and help them find a better balance. But maintaining some healthy habits is always important, and you’ll need to make sure you try a little harder when you’re spending long periods of time at home. Make your health a priority when working from home to help you make the most of it.