For most people, working from home is a dream come true. You can roll out of bed straight to your computer. No rushed mornings, no long commute, and no hassle of trying to find expensive parking in the city! Not to mention all the money you’re saving on gas.
Since Covid began working from home has become the new normal for most. Although working from home has many awesome benefits, it can also have some downsides when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
You can work from home effectively by controlling distractions, moving more, interacting with others, and creating a functional workspace.
We work remotely here at Making Living Lovely. Working this way allows us to work around our lives and save money on increasing expenses like gas. On Fridays, we meet for coffee and a weekly planning meeting where we catch up on the week and plan the following one.
Let’s look at 10 tips to help you perform your best when working from home:
- Move your body
- Prepare breakfast and lunch the night before
- Play motivating music to boost your mood
- Keep your favourite drinks and snacks stocked up
- Stretch your body and leave your workspace for a few minutes to reset
- Set a working schedule and stick to it
- Keep a work chat open so you can communicate with work colleges throughout the day
- If you can create a working area that is comfortable - warm, comfy seat and quiet
- Get your house organised the night before so you are in a calm environment
- Get dressed everyday into a comfortable but feel-good outfit
1. Move your body
Moving your body is a no brainer. Consider taking a short walk around the block whenever you have a break. As a result, your endorphins will be released, and you will feel energised and ready to go for the rest of the day.
The University of Colorado shared some great benefits of exercise that is good for your body and mind:
- Releases endorphins and helps relieve stress
- Allows us to take a break from everyday challenges and responsibilities
- Helps emotions move through our bodies
- Strengthens the connection we have with our bodies
Try stretches or Pilates classes if walking isn't possible where you live. You can find lots of amazing free workouts on YouTube to help you get started.
2. Prepare breakfast and lunch the night before
By pre-planning your lunch and breakfast for the next day, you'll have one less thing to think about or stress about.
My favourite way to prepare my lunch is to make more at dinner time. Then I don’t need to think about two meals or two lots of ingredients, I can just cook one larger meal and portion it out.
If you want to be super organised, you could prepare your breakfast too. Overnight oats are a great option to make the night before and store in the fridge.
By having both meals prepared you can focus on other important parts of your day like getting in a small walk or stretching on your lunch break or before your workday starts. It also stops tempting trips to fast food restaurants or ordering Uber Eats!
3. Play Motivating Music To Boost Your Mood
You can sometimes feel lonely when working from home when it's just you, so it's nice to have a little background music playing to lift your spirits.
Several studies have found that listening to music while working improves motivation, mood, and memory in some people.
Although this is not the case for everyone, some people can find it hard to concentrate. Try playing classical or calming music quietly in the background if you are one of those people.
Spotify has some super motivating playlists that are enjoyable to listen to while working at home.
Here are some of my favourite playlists to listen to:
4. Keep Your Favourite Snacks And Drinks Stocked Up
This tip isn’t me encouraging you to go out and buy all the snacks…although that would be fun! It’s more about having healthy snacks on hand so you don’t get the 2pm snooze going on.
Foods like fruit, popcorn, crackers, chocolate, or anything else you enjoy throughout the day are nice to have on hand.
You should also keep your favourite teas, coffees, and drinks at home. It's a great idea to get up and stretch for five minutes or so throughout the day. Making a cup of tea is an easy way to do that. It's also a great pick-me-up throughout the day.
Consider investing in an affordable coffee machine if you like to buy coffee in the morning so you can make your own at home. Save time and money by saving yourself from going out to pick one up every morning.
5. Stretch Your Body And Leave Your Workspace For A Few Minutes To Reset
Stretch, stretch and stretch. Stretching every hour can prevent neck, back, and arm strain caused by sitting at your desk all day. As a result of movement, our bodies release endorphins, which boost our mood and reduce stress.
Here at Making Living Lovely, we want to feel our best!
Healthline have shared a collection of stretches that you can perform at your desk to help you avoid repetitive stretch injuries. Research shows that stretching once every six minutes may help reduce pain by up to 72%.
6. Set A Working Schedule And Stick To It
Technology always makes everything available, so working from home doesn't mean you have to work endless hours. Just like in the office, it's important to set boundaries.
Taking breaks is important for your work performance, but so is working reasonable hours so you don't burnout.
Studies show that working longer than 45 hours a week can cause many problems including stress, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and lack of sleep to name a few. Our performance at work can decrease because of these problems, and our personal relationships and lifestyle can also be affected.
Plan your days ahead of time so you can fit in all the tasks you need to accomplish.
7. Keep A Work Chat Open So You Can Communicate With Work Colleges Throughout The Day
Even though you're working from home, communication with your colleagues doesn't need to be cut off. To build healthy relationships with our colleagues, it is important to have work and non-work-related conversations with them.
Check in with team members on Monday and ask how their weekend went. A similar type of chat is normal in an office environment, so working from home shouldn't be any different. It's great to be able to build healthy relationships with each other, and if your team is completely remote, you may learn about other cities or cultures.
Another great way to build remote team relationships is by having Friday drinks or games over Teams or Google Meet. You could suggest this to your boss as a way to get to know each other better and to keep in touch. It's nice to unwind with your team after a busy working week.
The Making Living Lovely team uses Microsoft Teams to meet online throughout the week and it couldn't be easier. We offer online live training for Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 products if you would like to learn more.
8. If You Can Create A Working Area That Is Comfortable – Warm, Comfy Seat, Quiet
Surroundings can have a large impact on how you work. Depending on your personality, you may prefer a clean, minimalist office space or you may like a lot of colour and inspiration.
As nice as aesthetics are it's also important to remember these things when creating your at home work space:
- Warmth, do you have heating or a blanket if your home is cold?
- Desk or table to set up a comfortable workstation
- Comfortable and supportive desk chair
- If possible, set up in a quieter area of your home so you can focus or join meetings without distractions
You may not be able to set up a home office in a separate room, so make use of the space you have. Consider finding an affordable screen room divider or shelves to separate your working space from your relaxing area if you are only able to set up in your dining room or living room.
9. Get Your House Organised The Night Before So You Are In A Calm Environment
Have you ever woken up to a messy house and felt overwhelmed and stressed out before your day has begun? This sets up my day in a negative, stressful way and I find myself feeling rushed and tired all day long.
That’s why it's best to reset your house the night before so you can start your day with a walk or peaceful breakfast.
Small things to get organised in your home the night before work:
- Dishes washed, dried, and put away.
- Reset the living area by putting away clutter and refreshing pillows and blankets.
- Laundry is put on, dried, or put away.
- Tidy up your workspace by removing dishes and clutter so you start the next day fresh.
Let's face it, if your children have messy rooms, you can just close their bedroom doors in the morning and deal with it on the weekend.
10. Get Dressed Everyday Into A Comfortable But Feel-Good Outfit
We all remember how many people were caught in 2020 without pants on in video calls...hehe! In my experience, dressing in a way that makes you feel and perform your best is beneficial.
While staying in your pyjamas on some days is nice, it's also important to dress in outfits that make you feel good. I still believe that comfort is important, so dress in something that is not only comfortable, but also makes you feel good.
Consider buying a few staple items that you can wear while working at home if it is a long-term or permanent arrangement for you. Wearing tight jeans at home all day isn't fun!
Work from home outfit ideas that are comfortable:
- Chunky knit jumpers and cardigans
- Floaty wide leg pants or elastic waist dress pants
- Long sleeve ribbed tops
- Floaty linen blouses
- Loose cotton dresses
- Don't forget warm slippers because there's no need for heels here!
To Sum Up
Hopefully these 10 tips for working from home have inspired you to make some small but beneficial changes to your routine.
Try one thing at a time and add something new each week instead of being overwhelmed and changing everything at once. Even the smallest of changes can have a profound effect on your mood.