The new normal for the majority of us is now hybrid working, a work style that enables employees to work from the office and from home. as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. So understandably, many of us have been pondering how we can make working from home easier on our mental and physical health. Here are five golden suggestions:
1. Keep your morning routine: One way to help ease yourself into the adjustment of working from home is to keep to your morning routine. By doing what you usually do before a workday, you will not only prepare yourself for the day ahead but also maintain some form of normalcy: “Take the time to go about your regular morning routine, take a shower, and get dressed for the day. If you usually go to the gym, supplement your routine with bodyweight exercises or strength training. Your regular morning routine will help you get into the mind space of having to work.
2. Get dressed: A continuation of your morning routine is to set out your work clothes for the day. Obviously, because we are working from home with Zoom meetings being the norm, comfy adjustments can be made to the lower portion of your work uniform – for example, tracksuit bottoms. Although it would be easier to stay in your pyjamas all day, in actuality getting ready and dressed can improve your motivation and help you into a work frame of mind. “The point of getting dressed is being forced to shower and change out of clothes you associate with sleep and rest, even if that means just changing into a T-shirt and jeans”(Laurie & Parry, 2020). Getting dressed for work trains your mind into thinking you are at work and, therefore, you can be more productive.
3. Make an office area: Not everyone has the luxury of having an office in their home. An alternative to this is to corner off a space and create a makeshift mini office, preferably “a quiet space away from people and distractions. You can replicate the office environment by getting everything you need in one place…chargers, pens, paper and anything else – and shut the door if you can. Even in a small or shared space, try to designate an area for work” (ibid). By dedicating a small area to work, you can prevent work from intruding into your home and therefore sustain a work/home separation.
4. Get outside if you can: If you do not have to isolate or shield, a good way of preserving healthy wellbeing is to get into the open air. Research has shown being outside increases your Vitamin D levels, and in turn, “Epidemiological studies are suggesting it may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke”(Harvard Health Letter, 2010). As well as physical benefits, spending some time outside, whether that is going for a walk or having lunch outside, also positively impacts your mental health to: “improve your mood; reduce feelings of stress or anger; help you feel more relaxed; improve your physical health; improve your confidence and self-esteem”(Mind, 2021). Even if it’s only for half an hour, spending time in the fresh air will give you a much-needed break from your home workspace.
5. Keep to a schedule: Although you are working from home, “It’s important to have a defined schedule and stick to it. Avoid sleeping in or lingering over breakfast, and get to work just as if you’re driving across town to your office”(Robinson, 2020). To be productive while working from home, try to maintain some of the environmental habits you would have in an office. One way to do this is: “To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks” (Devaney, 2020). Remember that this also means having the same regular breaks you’d have at work.
Use these five suggestions, and you will love the new hybrid working routine!