With many people now working from home (WFH), many former routines associated with the office have been disrupted. While WFH brings advantages such as no commute time, more relaxed attire and nearby pets, it also can present new challenges such as being too sedentary, snacking throughout the day and never unplugging – none of which are healthy, of course.
As the coronavirus changes our daily lives, more businesses may continue with WFH indefinitely. What began as a short-term option may indeed become a new way of professional life.
As such, it’s important to develop working from home healthy habits to ensure wellness and quality of life. Be intentional about making changes where necessary to take care of yourself, mentally and physically. Here are some smart recommendations to get you started.
Working from Home Healthy Habits
- Create a dedicated workspace – Hopefully, you’ve established this already since quarantine orders – but find an area where you can concentrate and be productive. That might require some creativity and space reallocation, but resist the urge to simply settle on the couch or at the kitchen table. Set up your space and include essentials – like a supportive chair, pens, paper file folders, sufficient lighting and something for your senses, like a plant or photo.
- Establish a routine – Don’t just roll out of bed and grab your laptop. You should exercise, shower and get dressed, grab coffee, eat breakfast and plan your day like you would at the office. Set regular work hours as much as possible, and create a daily or weekly list of assignments to complete. Focus on your job, versus getting distracted by the laundry, cleaning the kitchen or browsing social media.
- Connect with others – Humans are made for social connection, and WFH can feel very isolating if all you interact with is a screen. Schedule phone calls and video meetings each week to engage with people. If possible, have a socially distant outside coffee break or lunch with a co-worker.
- Get up and move – Sitting all day, particularly if we slouch or have compromised posture, causes strain on our bodies. Walk when you take phone calls, get up and grab water, stretch periodically, invest in a walking desk and simply stand up and take short walking breaks throughout the day.
- Eat nutritiously – While breaks are important, they should not all be trips to the kitchen. Eat regular meals at a table (not at your desk), and limit grazing or snacking throughout the day. Choose healthy options to fuel your performance and energy. Stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and nuts and low fat and lean proteins like yogurt and chicken. Hydrate with water, and add lemon or try flavored sparking waters for more variety. Limit consumption of chips, crackers, sweets, soda and coffee.
- Go outside – Fresh air can invigorate you and stimulate energy, so make it a priority to go outdoors at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of your workday. Whether you take a jog in the morning, eat lunch in your backyard or walk the dog in the evening, be diligent about getting out of the house regularly and enjoying a change of scenery.
- Log off – With WFH, it’s easy to feel like you’re always at work, or must be available 24/7. Make sure to set a time to finish your workday and sign out, and don’t feel compelled to take work calls or answer emails (outside of an emergency) after hours. It’s important for your mental health to get away from work and focus on other aspects of your life.