Remote work, working from home, telecommuting — these are not alien concepts. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, around 20 percent of the American workforce has been working from home.
With the sudden closures of establishments and offices brought by the pandemic, the 20 percent rose to 71 percent.
Now, even with vaccination rollouts on the way, more than half of the U.S. employees prefer working from home even after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.
Working from home offers a lot of advantages. For busy professionals, particularly those with families, it offers more flexible schedules. Nonetheless, working from home poses some challenges when it comes to health.
With that in mind, here are some important tips in order to make sure you stay healthy working from home amid this pandemic and beyond:
1. Follow a Consistent Sleep Schedule
It is so easy to get too comfortable when working from home. Without the worries of getting stuck in traffic or getting to work late, it is tempting to sleep in until mid-day.
But it should not be the case. Especially now that we are many months deep now in this pandemic, pretty sure some of us have let go of our pre-COVID sleeping pattern.
With the thought that this work-from-home setup is going to stay with us a little longer or even permanently, it is high time to revisit our sleeping schedule.
Sticking to the same waking and sleeping hours is essential for self-care. Rather than give in to the temptation of bingeing on Netflix the entire night, close off your laptop, tablets, and mobile phones an hour or two before bedtime.
With a good amount of sleep at night, you are more productive and active during the day. This ensures you get your tasks done on time.
2. Get Dressed
A lot of us think working from home means staying in our pajamas and lounge wears. However, dressing up the part is crucial to stay healthy while working from home.
It is simply a psychological thing. When you are on your PJs and nightdress, you tend to slack off and be lazy. By dressing up the part, you help yourself transition to work much easier.
It does not mean though that you have to throw a complete outfit just to make sure you have the right mindset. A simple casual outfit — jeans (or even yoga pants) and a shirt would do the trick.
It also follows that you should take a shower every day, groom yourself, and even put your shoes on. When you dress the part, your mind also aligns with your goals.
3. Set a Designated Workspace
Having a designated workstation can never be overemphasized. Whether you agree or not, a lot of employees working from home do not really put so much effort into building a conducive room or area for working.
While it is true that our laptops are our offices, it would be nice to have a surrounding that stimulates productivity, creativity, and comfort. Whether it is a whole room or a corner in the kitchen table, chose a spot as your own office space.
It is ideal to pick an area that has good natural lighting, perhaps closer to the window. Mind as well the chair that you use. While it is tempting to slouch on the sofa, it is better to use a real chair for work. You are more energized, attentive, and in a better mood when you do so.
Also, mind your surroundings. Having a neat, organized, and clean environment keeps anyone motivated.
4. Give Yourself a Break
The number one challenge among working from home employees is to separate their personal and work life. In theory, it is so easy to say that working from home offers flexibility and offers more time to do other stuff. But, it takes proper planning and discipline in sticking to schedules to get the most out of this work-from-home setup.
The first thing is first, build a schedule which you have to follow through as much as possible. This includes what time you’ll wake up, sleep, when you should clock out, breaks, and personal stuff you need to take care of.
When it is your break time, make use of it. Get yourself a coffee, tea, or any beverage that you like to go for short walks. When it is lunchtime, do not eat at your desk. Have a proper meal instead. Most importantly, when you are on medication do not forget to take your pills or have your IV therapy session on time.
Lastly, clock out by the end of your shift. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you have to make yourself available for work 24/7. Surely that email could wait for you the next day.
5. Set a Support System
A lot of employees who have been working from home since the start of the pandemic have reported feeling