There are many benefits to working from home for both employees and businesses, but it certainly helps if your working style fits your home environment more than a busy office.
Even people who love working from home and who thrive in a virtual working environment can struggle with things like establishing routines, giving themselves breaks, maintaining clear boundaries between work and home, and keeping that social connection to their coworkers.
Here are some ways to ensure your physical environment and mental space are set up for prioritising your wellbeing.
Give yourself a workspace that makes things easier
The ideal scenario is to have either a room that you can dedicate to setting up a home office or a corner of the home that everyone knows is your workspace. It goes beyond having the right equipment and knowing where everything is – it’s about being able to set a boundary between your work and home life.
Of course, we don’t always have the luxury of being able to have a dedicated space for work. You might need to pack things away at the end of your day, but keeping that space as the one you work in really helps with maintaining a work-life boundary.
When you work in the office, your routines might include having a coffee on the morning commute and reading a book on the journey home. These can be great ways for you to ramp up to a work mindset and wind down to a home one.
Look for ways to replicate these when you work from home. Maybe go out for a walk and get the paper at the start of the day, and go out for a walk while listening to a podcast at the end of it. Look for things that get you into the headspace you need.
Remember to take breaks when working from home – including mini-screen breaks!
It’s easy to forget how often we’re up and moving in an office.
From grabbing something from the printer, to having a chat with someone or going on a coffee run, we tend to move quite a bit.
It can be very easy to forget to move when it’s just you and the computer screen. It’s easy to miss breaks or even lunch, and to start work early and finish late. The more often you forget these things, however, the worse you’ll start to feel.
Set reminders to take your breaks (and to start and finish on time). And take smaller screen breaks – maybe take the washing out of the machine or go out into the fresh air for a while.
Once you’ve got your work space all set up how you like, the next step is to focus on your wellbeing.
Establish boundaries when working from home
Boundaries are so important – it can feel like you’re being a bit aggressive when you assert them if you haven’t done that before, but really all you’re doing is showing people how they can be respectful of your time and space.
Friends and family, for example, may feel that you’re working from home, so you’re free to spend a lot of time with them in the middle of the day. It’s important to let them know what your core working hours are. Encourage them not to expect you to drop work when they want to chat about something when you’re on a deadline, for example.
At work, train yourself to use more assertive language and to set boundaries with your colleagues and managers. It’s much better to be polite and assertive about your needs and capacity than allow resentment to build up without others realising it.
Look for ways to leave work behind when you finish for the day, such as listing that day’s achievements before you log off and organising your priorities for the next day. If you always have to calm anxiety by checking emails in the evening, weekends or on holidays, ask yourself why that is and how you can change that.
Talk to your colleagues
Human-to-human connections are so important to maintain. Chatting with your colleagues about how they are and what’s going on in their lives is not wasting time. Build in some time for this in your day.
At The Social Element, we use virtual tools to help employees keep in touch with each other such as virtual coffee breaks and team video calls. We also have a coffee fund that team members can use to meet up for a face-to-face catch-up. These opportunities to connect help to make us happier and make working with each other a much more enjoyable experience.
Find ways to be present instead of letting your mind spiral
It’s easy to get stressed out at work from various deadlines and miscommunications that we have to deal with every day. Look for ways to ground yourself. In other words, try to be physically and mentally present instead of allowing your mind to race at 100 miles a minute.
Spend more time in nature. That could mean taking a walk in a local park, getting some indoor plants to look after, or spending time with your pets. Or maybe look at relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, yoga and meditation.
It’s also important to keep some time to enjoy your hobbies and the things that give you joy and relax you. Something you do just for you.
Wellness should always be a priority regardless of where and when you work, and it’s easy to let our personal wellness practices slip when working from home.
Remember that no matter how much you love your work, you have value that goes beyond your role, and you deserve to feel happy and healthy.