Daily routines and consistent habits provide structure and discipline to everyday life. Having a set wake-up time, lunch, and after-work routine can help reduce stress and anxiety and increase our overall health and wellness. However, the remote work phenomenon has caused many people to have to adapt to new work environments and routines. As a result, some people have developed unhealthy work from home habits. After months of remote work, staying healthy while working from home can seem like a difficult task. Learn how to maintain a work-life balance and develop healthy habits to keep remote work sustainable with these tips for staying healthy while working from home.
Poor Work from Home Habits and Tips for Staying Healthy:
Poor Sleeping Habits
Working from home means that you no longer have to plan in time for your morning commute. Your longest journey will probably be from your bedroom to the living room. As a result, a lot of people have taken advantage of the situation to sleep-in. However, this may also mean going to sleep much later than usual. Avoid waking up 10 minutes before the start of your workday. Set an alarm every day and give yourself time to get ready in the morning before logging in. That also means going to bed at a reasonable hour every day. If you were normally asleep by 11 pm then try staying close to this schedule to create a consistent sleeping pattern.
Unlimited access to food and snacks can easily lead to poor eating habits while working from home. Spending the day at home comes with the temptation to constantly head into the kitchen for a snack or the convenience of ordering out instead of cooking lunch. There is nothing wrong with snacks, but try to avoid the unhealthy potato chips and grab some fruit or nuts instead. Plan out your meals as though you are going into the office. If you normally meal prep on Sundays and find that makes it easier than finding the motivation to cook during your lunch break then continue with this routine. Creating healthy eating habits is essential to staying healthy while working from home.
Working Too Much
Working from home can definitely make it easy to stay logged in into the late hours of the night. Not going into a physical office can make it difficult to put boundaries on how many hours we work every day. An unhealthy habit that is common while working from home is clocking in way too many hours and not knowing when to disconnect. It’s important to keep track of hours and ensure you are stepping away from your computer screen a few times a day to eat lunch, go for a walk, or even a coffee break. Although you won’t be able to leave a physical building at the end of your shift, establish a ritual to represent the end of your workday. Whether that be something as small as putting away your laptop or closing the door to your office, it is important to disconnect.
Poor Time Management/ Not Making a Plan
Just because our days seem monotonous doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to make a plan. Waking up without a schedule in mind in the morning will most likely lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and underperformance. Try creating a general timeline for yourself throughout the day. Buy a planner and schedule calls, meals, and any workouts or social activities you may have planned. Doing this will help your productivity, help you feel less overwhelmed, and more in control of your day.
We spend most of our days either on our laptops, phones, or iPads. After working in front of a screen all day many people tend to disconnect by watching a show on Netflix or spending hours catching up on social media. Apart from the fact that staring at screen lights all day can negatively affect our eyesight, it is also an unhealthy habit to get into. Try out some hobbies that do not require screens like drawing, reading, or even cooking. Make it a point to give yourself a break from screen time after finishing your workday. Going for a walk or doing some household errands are a great way to stay healthy while working from home.
Ignoring Your Social Life
At the start of the pandemic and the shift to remote work, it was difficult to adjust to not seeing our friends and coworkers on a daily basis. Now that we have grown accustomed to having less personal contact, we have gotten into the habit of keeping to ourselves too often. Although we can’t necessarily meet up with friends and coworkers in person that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your social life entirely. Schedule online game nights, wine tastings, and scavenger hunts with your friends and coworkers. It will break up the monotony of your workweek and give you something to look forward to.
A consequence of working from home is putting less importance on our physical appearance and also hygiene. Remote workers can get into the unhealthy habit of working in their pajamas all day and not showering or brushing their hair. Taking the time every morning to get dressed will increase your mood and self-confidence which leads to a more productive day. Pick out your daily outfits just as you would if you were going into the office that day. Despite the comfort, try to avoid the loungewear as much as you can. Choose one or two days during the week where you commit to a business casual outfit. Regardless of what you decide to wear, ensure not to skip your daily showers!
Not Exercising Enough or At All
Prior to working from home, you may have had a specific workout routine before or after office hours. Now that most of us find ourselves sitting at a desk for the majority of the day it has become quite difficult to reestablish this workout routine. In fact, for many people, the most exercise they do is walking from one room to the other. In order to stay healthy while working from home, it is important to keep up with our physical health and fitness. Schedule in some online workout classes before or after work. Or try going for a walk around the block during your lunch break. Getting a bit of fresh air on a daily basis will also be great for your mood and overall focus and motivation.
Ignoring Mental & Physical Health
Working from home can make it seem difficult to take a sick day or a mental health day. We may feel guilty taking time off as we could technically work from our beds if we aren’t feeling well. However, it’s important to be aware of our body’s needs and rest when required. If you are feeling ill, take the day or half the day to rest and recover. It is also equally important to recognize when we are feeling mentally worn out. Create an open dialogue with your employer and don’t be afraid to ask for the day if you aren’t feeling 100%.
It is very easy to get into the bad habit of working from your bed every day. Despite how convenient and comfortable it may seem at first, over time it will reduce your productivity and increase your back pain. Instead of falling into the temptation of working from your bed, create a separate workspace for yourself. Set up an office space in your living room or kitchen, or a standing desk in your bedroom. The new dedicated workspace will allow you to be more productive and get into a better work routine. If you need to switch things up every so often, alternate between working from your living room table or kitchen table for a change in environment.
Promoting employee wellness is important, especially for remote workers. Healthy habits and daily routines are important to maintain structure and consistency in our lives. Having a routine also allows us to stay healthy while working from home. What are some of your work from home habits?