6 Healthy Habits for Working From Home
Are you new to remote work and looking for some healthy habits for working from home? You’re not alone! Due to the current health climate, more and more people leave the traditional office environment and move into the WFH arena.
There are definitely a lot of perks to working from home. But there are also a few habits you might develop that could negatively impact your health. The best way to combat this is to be aware of some common pitfalls when working from home and install some healthy habits early on. And we have a few tips to get you started!
Here are 6 healthy habits for working from home:
1. Create a productive and dedicated workspace
Healthy habits for working from home begin with creating a productive and dedicated workspace.
If you’re new to the WFH life, you’ll find that dealing with and mitigating distractions is one of the main challenges. And many times the positives and negatives that come with working from home are two sides of the same coin. It all depends on how you manage them.
One of the most important things you can do right away to remove distractions and stay focused is to prioritize your workspace. While having to go to an office is less than ideal for most people, it does provide a focused environment dedicated to working.
However, when you work from home, there are hundreds of things that could call for your attention if allowed. The fact that you are home makes you seem available to spouses, children, and neighbors for tasks or assistance that will take up time and break your focus.
Or if you live alone, you might find the easy access to your television, bookshelf, or social media an extra temptation away from productivity.
Solve this problem at home by designating a specific workspace or home office for yourself where you specifically go to work. Being in this space will communicate to others (and yourself) that it’s time to focus and you are unavailable during that time. Make the space pleasant to be in. Position yourself near a window if you can to get plenty of energizing sunlight. Decorate it in a way that makes you happy to be there, and keep it tidy and free of clutter. And if you don’t live alone, a door that you can close yourself off with will be absolutely essential if you can manage it.
Alternatively, if you do not need to be home and find that environment too distracting, find a place to regularly take you and your work for dedicated productivity time during work hours. This could be a quiet coffee shop, library, or coworking space.
Just as with any desk job, working from home involves lots of sitting. So healthy habits for working from home include adding physical movement into your day in any way you can.
Sitting for hours on end is bad for your circulation, digestive system, and back, among other things. Counter this by fitting in some movement breaks throughout the day.
Take a few minutes here and there to do a stretching routine, jumping jacks, lift some dumbbells in your home gym, or hop on a treadmill if you have one.
Or better yet, make time in the afternoons (if you can) to take a break and go for a walk in the sunshine. The burst of exercise and sunshine will energize and refuel you, and your body will thank you.
3. Eat well
One of the healthy habits for working from home that many people forget to prioritize is to make sure you eat well.
Your blood sugar levels have a large part to play in your energy levels. Going too long without eating or perpetually eating foods with a high glycemic index can result in major dips in energy. These dips affect your productivity, causing you to feel sluggish and unable to focus.
Make a healthy diet a priority by grocery shopping and setting aside time at least once a week to meal prep. It might seem daunting and time-consuming to have to cook and clean for every meal, which usually leads to poor food choices. Meal prepping in advance gives you healthy options that are quick to prepare or reheat and keeps you and your brain fueled and optimized for a productive workday.
4. Maintain a work/life balance and stick to a schedule
Another one of the most important healthy habits for working from home is to make a schedule and stick to it.
Maintaining a strict work/life balance is one of the biggest challenges when you work from home. The lines get blurred, and often you can find yourself overwhelmed by the feeling that you are never done working because work has invaded your everyday life.
Therefore, it is vital to do whatever you can to draw a hard line between the time you allow yourself to work and the time you allow yourself to have a personal life. Along with designating a specific workspace as mentioned above, it is also necessary to make yourself a work schedule and stick to it.
Setting aside a specific time to work and not be distracted by any other tasks around the house that need to get done is extremely important. It will help you optimize your time so you can get back to living your personal life. There’s always something around the house to do. But the dishes, laundry, and mowing the lawn can all wait until it’s time to do chores. Trying to fit in household tasks while you work will just upset your focus and make everything you are doing take longer.
One of the benefits of working from home is the flexibility it offers your schedule. And you should definitely use this to your advantage. But don’t be so flexible that you allow every little thing to take you away from your work tasks.
If you have errands or appointments throughout the week to schedule your time around, make time for them. But also have a solid work schedule set in place that you remain dedicated to, even if your neighbor suddenly needs you to walk their dog. It’s okay (and important) to say no!
5. Step away from your screens and take breaks
Protecting your eyes by occasionally taking breaks and stepping away from your screens is one of the most critical healthy habits for working from home.
The eye strain over time caused by hours upon hours of staring into the blue light of your screen can cause some major eye damage in the long run and contribute to some other symptoms that decrease your quality of life.
An overdose of blue light exposure can affect your health in various ways. Over time, it can contribute to irreversible macular degeneration in your eyes. The constant exposure of this light from your screens can cause digital eye strain, leading to headaches and possibly chronic migraines. It also disrupts your circadian rhythms, negatively affecting your quality and quantity of sleep. This leads to exhaustion and fatigue and a slurry of other negative side effects.
Mitigate these hazards (while also improving your productivity) by stepping back and taking frequent breaks from your screen. These short breaks are a perfect time to work in those movement exercises as mentioned above, get a snack, or just step outside for a little sunshine and fresh air. Basically, spend a little more time doing anything that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.
6. Be social
Finally, when you are seeking to incorporate healthy habits for working from home, don’t forget to be social!
In a normal work environment, there is a social aspect built-in by interacting with coworkers. Even if you’re living that cubicle life, there are always opportunities at the water cooler or break rooms to interact with fellow employees and chat for a bit. You don’t realize how important these little interactions are until you start working from home and find yourself feeling surprisingly isolated. Unless you make an effort to actively seek social interactions, you could go a long time without even talking to another person, and that’s not good for your health.
In the absence of forced social situations such as occurs in an office environment, make sure you set aside time each day to call close family and friends. Make time to schedule coffee or lunch/dinner dates periodically throughout the week. Even introverts will feel rested and refreshed from a little time spent with a good friend.
Like this content and want more? Subscribe to Dock Line Magazine so you can get more helpful content like this sent straight to your email and mailbox!