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Tips For Anyone Working At Home
It seems like the work-from-home debate is finally over. There were a couple of years when it seemed like people would never stop arguing about it. Admittedly, it only happened so completely because of the pandemic, but here we are three years later, and you’d be hard-pushed to name more than a couple of friends and acquaintances who were back at the office full-time. Most people are now working from home at least a couple of days a week. There are a lot of obvious benefits to this new normal setup. You don’t have to deal with the morning commute, you can get up and make a cup of tea whenever you like, and you might be able to work flexible hours to allow you to fit other commitments into your daily schedule.
However, there are some drawbacks to working from home consistently too. It’s all too easy to become isolated and to let some of those essential health and self-care duties start to slip. This is especially true if you freelance or if you’re running your own business because you know that you need to keep that work coming in.
1. Be Strict About Your Work Hours
Setting your own hours is one of the biggest work-from-home bonuses. Many businesses offer flexible working times to help their employees take care of their other commitments, and there are always going to be days where you need to make up time here and there to cover for doctor’s appointments or someone coming to look at the boiler. However, there’s a big difference between that and staying on a few hours later just because you didn’t get around to finishing your work for the day, or because your boss is continuing to message you. Burnout is still a huge issue for a lot of people, even if it isn’t making the headlines like it once did. Keep your personal time sacred so you can properly wind down at the end of the day. You need to tell your employers that you need more time if they are pestering you to keep working late, or your work is going to suffer. If the work creep is happening because you haven’t scheduled your time properly, then it’s time that you sit down and make a proper schedule for yourself.
2. Set Up A Proper Home Office
This point is particularly aimed at anyone who only started working from home recently. It might seem tempting to work on the sofa, or even to start your workday under the covers, but you’re going to start paying the price for this sooner rather than later. You can cause yourself serious muscle and joint pain if you don’t look after your posture when you’re working at home, so make sure you invest in a desk and a proper desk chair. Make sure that you adjust your screen so that it’s just below eye level to avoid craning your neck. You should also look at how much light you’re getting in the room. You probably know that it’s best to avoid working in too much darkness to avoid straining your eyes, but it can also have a major impact on your mood. If you know that you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and you find that you feel down during the short days of winter, then it may be worth picking up a SAD lamp. Try to keep your desk neat and organised and think about getting a plant for it too! Finally, it’s so important to be able to close the door to your work at the end of the day. It’s a little mental note that you can finally start to relax.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Health
This point goes double for anyone who freelances or runs their own company from home. When you’re working for yourself, you know that so much of your energy is going to be focused on getting that work done. It can often feel like everything else comes second. That’s how you end up staying up late to get a project completed, and how you can suddenly realise that you worked all the way through lunch. But your health always needs to be a priority. If you stop looking after yourself, then your work is going to suffer, it’s just that simple. So, try to listen to what your body is telling you. Step away from the screen for a few minutes and go and drink some water if you start getting a headache. If you get a cold or come down with the flu, remember that it’s OK to take a sick day. You should also get proactive if you have a health issue that you think needs addressing. There may be prescription medications that can help, whether you’re suffering from hay fever or skin conditions, or you’re looking to quit smoking. Visit Oxford Online Pharmacy to have an experienced, independent, UK-registered doctor review your survey and prescribe a medication that can help you.
4. Don’t Get Isolated
One of the biggest drawbacks to working from home every day is that you simply don’t end up seeing as many people as you would in an office environment. There are days when that’s a bonus, especially if you’re not feeling 100%. Sometimes the last thing you want is to get caught in a long conversation in the break area when you’re on deadline. But it is important to make sure that you don’t end up getting isolated. If you let yourself get too squirrelled away, it can start to have a serious impact on your mental health. So, look for ways that you can reach out and connect with people IRL. If you work for a local company, meet up with colleagues for a meal or for a drink. If you’re somewhere else entirely, then why not think about going into a shared working space for a day or two a week just so you’re around other people? Keep reaching out to your friends and family. If you’re at home by yourself all day, it’s really important that you get out and do social things outside of your office hours.
5. Don’t Forget To Exercise
Finally, a note to everyone who works at home: you should probably be moving more. It’s so easy to roll straight from your bed to your desk, but you need to make sure that you’re staying active. Try to pry yourself out of bed so you can for a jog or even a walk before you start work for the day. If the weather’s bad, why not look at doing a HIT workout or some yoga? No one is saying that you need to hit the gym for a couple of hours every day but working at home means that you’re not doing the little things like walking to get your lunch or running up and down flights of stairs in the office building. Exercising regularly helps to keep your immune system in good shape, it will help you to sleep better, and it can really help with your mental health too. If you’re not sure about where you’ll be able to fit it into the day, remember that it should be a priority.