How to Work From Home: 7 Smart Tips
Many of us are new to the world of working from home right now — and even if you’ve been WFH for a while, the stay-at-home restrictions present new challenges. You may be wondering how to work from home when your kids are suddenly sharing your office, or how to avoid eating chips all day long, or how to stay focused when your comfy couch is just a few feet away. (Who wants to work on spreadsheets when there are so many new Netflix documentaries to watch?)
But working from home is definitely doable — and it can even be enjoyable (and not just because you get to wear pajama pants to work). Here are 7 work-from-home tips to make your daily routine go a little more smoothly.
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1. Get Into Work Mode
When you work in an office, you have certain “boundary-crossing activities” — like putting on work clothes, or your daily commute — that delineate work life and home life. But your work-life boundaries can get blurry when you literally live at the office, so it’s important to figure out which boundaries work for you when you’re WFH.
Here are a few ways to help maintain a healthy balance:
- Wake up at the same time every day, get a shower, and put on professional attire.
- Set up a spot in your home that’s solely for work. It can be an office in the spare room, a foldable desk in the living room, or just a designated area of the kitchen table.
- It might be tempting to stay in bed all day and work on your laptop, but that can mess with your sleep hygiene. Keep your work station in a separate area so your bedroom feels like a sanctuary.
- Stream the same morning show you’d usually listen to on your commute, or use your usual commuting time to take a walk around the block.
Maintain these boundary-crossing activities, and you may find your world doesn’t feel so upside-down.
2. Set a Realistic Schedule
Following a clear daily schedule can help you stay productive. But while it’s important to have structure in your day, cut yourself some slack during this time of transition. Your usual 9-to-5 workday might not be feasible — especially if you’re using a shared computer or if you have kids at home — and that’s okay. (Your coworkers are probably dealing with their own logistical challenges!)
Figure out a schedule that works for your household. For example, you could say, “I’m going to work from 9:00 to 12:00, take a 30-minute lunch break, homeschool my child in the afternoon, walk the dog, then go back to work from 6:00 to 9:00.” And don’t forget to schedule a 5-minute break every hour to do something active — do a sun salutation, take a few laps around your workspace, or sneak in a few squats.
3. Get Some Fresh Air
When you don’t have to leave your house to go to work, it can be all too easy to go an entire day without ever stepping out your front door. Make sure you get some fresh air each day when you’re working from home — open a window, walk your dog, or walk yourself.
4. Take a Real Lunch Break
If you’d normally take an hour for lunch at the office, give yourself the same break at home. If possible, try to avoid using this time for chores, cleaning, or child care — when you mix housework with professional work, you might find yourself feeling spread thin.
If you’ve set up a daily schedule, you’ll have time to tackle household responsibilities later. So during your lunch break, whip up a healthy lunch and enjoy it at the kitchen table or by a window.
5. Make Time for Exercise
Exercise plays an important role in staying healthy when you’re working from home — research suggests exercise can have a positive effect on mood and cognition and may also help relieve stress. So get out of the house for some fresh air, or stream an Openfit workout like Yoga52, Xtend Barre, or Rough Around the Edges. If your WFH schedule is hectic, you may find it easier to break up your workday with shorter workouts — like 600 Secs, Openfit’s 10-minute workout program that’s guaranteed to get you sweating.
6. Enjoy Some “Me Time”
“Me time” might seem unnecessary when you’re not even allowed to be within six feet of anyone else, but it’s still important to make self-care part of your daily routine. Meditate, take an online yoga class, soak in a warm bath, or read a good book.
7. Connect With a Loved One
It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re working from home, even under normal circumstances — but WFH in the middle of a quarantine is a double whammy. Text a friend, binge-watch a sitcom with your partner, or set up a virtual brunch with family. Just don’t let those video conference calls be your only human interaction for the day!