Working from home has its perks and its challenges. On the one hand, you’re saving money on gas, and you have the flexibility to work whenever you want to (as long as you can focus on your job). But on the other hand, it’s easy to lose track of time and space, especially if you’re working from your couch or bed. To keep healthy work habits while working from home, you should try these 10 healthy work habits that are good for both your physical and mental health.
1) Get up at the same time each day
Studies have shown that people who work from home tend to be more productive and are less likely to feel isolated. However, if you work by yourself all day, you’re also likely prone to getting stuck in unhealthy habits, like eating too much and skipping workouts. Getting up at a set time each morning can help relieve some of these challenges, in addition to improving employee satisfaction, relieving stress and improving teamwork. As an added bonus, it will help keep you on track toward your personal goals as well. If you typically wake up later than ideal, try starting your day with a healthy breakfast before turning on your computer or TV. You’ll likely find that it helps you think more clearly in the moment and stick with your goals long-term.
2) Get dressed each day
The first step in improving your wellbeing at work is improving your personal habits. According to Time Magazine, one of those habits is getting dressed each day. In an office setting, you can easily hide behind a computer all day and not be judged; not so with working from home. Getting dressed will make you feel more professional and ultimately improve both employee satisfaction and teamwork. You’ll even relieve stress by forcing yourself out of bed, showering, making your bed and putting on real clothes each morning. After all—even Superman puts on a costume before he starts saving people!
Staying active can improve employee satisfaction, relieve stress, and improve teamwork. When working from home it’s easy to lose track of time or just find excuses not to exercise. This is especially important when you are your own boss because stress-relief is almost always something that is badly needed at a certain point in time. Some other healthy habits include eating a healthy diet, planning/organizing days and weeks in advance (preventing more stress) as well as getting enough sleep every night. All of these habits will improve your productivity and make you a happier person overall.
4) Eat regular meals
When you’re on your own schedule, it can be difficult to plan for meals. However, if you eat healthy and keep your blood sugar stable throughout your day, you’ll likely have more energy and will make better decisions during work hours. It also improves teamwork by providing a regular time when you’re all expected to check in with each other as a team. For example, some teams hold daily stand-up meetings where they discuss what everyone worked on that day, what they plan on working on tomorrow and any issues or challenges they faced. Others come together over lunch or snacks to share ideas while learning about what others are working on. With these discussions, everyone builds stronger relationships and gets familiar with how their peers operate an important element of great teamwork!
5) Keep your home office clean and orderly
An unorganized home office can cause stress, a lack of focus and even injury. By keeping your office clean and neat, you’ll help yourself maintain a better work-life balance. Additionally, you won’t be so tempted to procrastinate or stray from important tasks if your space is comfortable and inviting. To stay on top of things when working from home, it’s imperative that you organize your computer desktop so that all information is easily accessible at a moment’s notice. Not only does an organized desktop make you more efficient but will also give you more time for actual work because it reduces those frequent I forgot where I put that file! moments.
6) Allow yourself occasional breaks
One of the biggest mistakes people make while working from home is not taking breaks. We know that it’s tempting, especially if you’re a person who thrives on constant interaction and has a hard time focusing for more than 15 minutes at a time. But cutting yourself off can give you renewed energy and help you tackle tasks with renewed focus. Since working from home doesn’t require as much physical space as an office, allow yourself short 5-minute breaks in which you don’t look at your work email or Twitter feed. Then, take longer breaks after completing each big project every 90 minutes is ideal or when you run out of ideas for what else to accomplish that day.
7) Set goals
Setting your goals is a no-brainer. But how do you set good goals? That’s where it gets tricky. Good goals can be SMART or they can be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. People often have very high aspirations for what they want to achieve and end up disappointed if they are not met, says social psychologist Gabriele Oettingen. But that’s exactly what a goal should provoke: disappointment when it is not achieved.
8) Listen to music while working
What’s more, research suggests that music boosts our productivity levels. A study by psychologists at Humboldt University in Berlin found that workers who listened to music while they worked performed tasks at a faster pace than those who didn’t listen to anything while they worked, while another study by researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada also found that workers completed repetitive tasks like photocopying faster when listening to music. If you’re worried about your neighbors hearing your headphones over their own tunes, listen with earbuds or noise-canceling headphones instead. The key is not actually blocking out sound that can have a detrimental effect on our mental health but rather listening without distractions.
9) Drink plenty of water
When you’re working remotely, it can be tempting to grab that soda or order a beer when you get thirsty. But studies show that drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration, cause fatigue and make it harder for your body to regulate temperature. Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re sitting all day; whether you’re in an office or home office, try carrying a water bottle around with you and refill as needed. You could also try flavored water, not only will they boost your metabolism, but they’ll help fight off monotony (boredom) at work by changing up your taste buds throughout the day.
10) Sleep well
When you work from home, there’s nobody stopping you from staying up late and sleeping in until noon. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for your health. Even if you have an ironclad deadline or just feel more productive at night, sticking to a sleep schedule can improve your overall health and performance. You’ll likely need to go through a period of adjustment while your body learns how to fall asleep earlier (and eventually, go back to sleep when you wake up early). But getting enough sleep is vital for long-term productivity and maintaining quality relationships with friends and family.
By being more mindful of your habits, you can create a healthy lifestyle that won’t only help you work better and smarter, but will improve your overall health and well-being. Remember: when it comes to healthy living, what happens in front of your computer matters as much as what happens away from it. And if you can learn how to stay focused on healthy activities while working from home, you’ll start making small changes that benefit both your body and mind.