Author: Emiliya Tsaneva
Not so long ago working from home seemed to be a dream for many – you don’t need to commute to work, you don’t have to deal with that annoying colleague sitting next to you, you can sit wherever you want, not where someone told you to, it is not necessary to book a room for each call… Working from home has tremendous benefits, however, as with everything else in life, there are some challenges as well. Here are some ideas how to feel better and be more productive while working from home:
- Designated work space – if you plan to work from home long term, then it makes sense to designate a separate room for office and use it only for work. If you can’t devote a whole room, then designate a special place in your home for work or simply get a special work chair. When we work from home the boundary between personal and work-related is not so clear. It is important to create and sustain a good boundary between them, otherwise your personal life and your productivity could suffer. This is why it is advisable to designate a work space at home and to use it only for work. When you sit there it is easier to switch to work mode, and when you sit on the couch it is way more natural to switch to relax mode. To have two separate laptops also helps keeping that boundary – this way you make sure you won’t get a notification from a client while relaxing with a movie.
- Proper office chair and desk – it sounds wonderful to work lying on the couch, however, its function is for relaxation, not for work. To use the couch or the kitchen table for work once in a while is totally fine, but if you are going to work from home long term, it is wise to invest in a comfortable office chair and a desk. If we work sitting on inappropriate furniture for a long time, at some point the back starts protesting quite painfully. So it’s better to invest in proper work furniture before your body starts complaining, otherwise you will have to invest not only in new furniture, but in massage and maybe physiotherapy as well. One more tip – if you start looking for a desk now, you might want to consider investing in an adjustable one, so that you can work alternating sitting and standing position – that’s the best body care while working.
- Appropriate appearance – working in your domestic clothes or pyjamas, not shaving as usual, not putting make-up on, not putting any effort in your hair – all this makes it easier for you, but if it becomes a habit, it starts having a negative effect on your self-esteem and your productivity. Even if you don’t need to turn on your camera, because you work mainly on the phone, taking care of your appearance influences your level of confidence and this could be felt in your voice as well. So when you work from home, still put some effort into your appearance and on Sunday, if you feel like it, you can totally stay in your pyjamas half the day.
- Clear time frame – in our working time we do work-related tasks, and in our free time, we do our personal stuff – in theory it’s really simple, in practice, however, not always. Some of us have clearly defined working hours, while others don’t have this time frame, but have a specific task and a deadline. In both cases it is important to have a time frame and to stick to it with discipline, so that you can work productively and relax properly after you have finished your tasks for the day. To have a break before getting a proper amount of things done, actually makes us more nervous, because instead of being able to relax, we always have this slight feeling of anxiousness. Yes, you might actually feel you haven’t earned your break yet. So it’s better to keep good focus during working hours and get your tasks done, no matter if someone is calling you on your private phone, if there are dishes to be done or clothes to be folded. And vice versa – when I am supposed to finish work at 18, I really finish work at 18, not at 19, not at 21, but at 18. When you constantly do overtime, sooner or later your productivity will start decreasing – when your brain is tired, something that you are usually able to do within 2 hours, now takes you 4… Think about it.
- Take your breaks – when you work in an office, there is always someone to bring you out for coffee or for some fresh air. At home, however, there is usually no one to remind you to take breaks, this is why you have to get disciplined for taking breaks as well. It is important to take a lunch break and eat in a calm atmosphere, not in front of the computer. It is also good for you to take some small breaks in between, to go out and enjoy the sun, to look into the distance, so that you give your eyes the chance to rest for a moment. It is extremely important to have regular breaks – in the long run it makes you more productive and even more creative. It often happened to me while enjoying the view, all of a sudden to get an idea how to solve a problem, which I tried figuring out the whole morning without success. Being productive and having a rest go hand in hand, taking care of your health and having high results long term as well.
- Sports and nutritious food – it’s good to consider investing the time you save from not having to commute to work into doing some sports. Just start doing some exercise, even if at the moment you can find only 15 minutes about it. It’s better to do 15 minutes of exercise at home every day, than spend 1 hour in the fitness once every three months… Yes, if you usually get up 10 minutes before starting work, you might need to get up a bit earlier. Yes, some mornings you might feel tired and won’t feel like doing exercise at all. But after you do some exercise, your body and brain wake up so nicely, your mood becomes so wonderfully joyful and you feel so proud of yourself… Remind yourself of this cool feeling and energy you get from exercise, this might help you get up and finally start moving. You don’t know what kind of exercise to do at home? Well, there are some wonderful exercise videos online, just have a look, pick one and start – no excuses. Together with the exercise it is also good to plan what kind of nutritious food to start eating, because working from home makes a lot of people fall into the routine of eating pizza, pasta and other convenience foods every day, which has various negative effects on their health. Your brain needs some proper fuel to work productively, your body as well – take good care of them!
Having the opportunity to work from home is definitely a blessing. Good planning and proper boundaries between personal and work-related, having a balanced approach towards productive hours and rest, can help you feel good about yourself, be super productive and even create masterpieces. Good luck!