Working from home may seem like the dream for many people, but just because it is the ideal situation does not mean it is entirely free from stress. It might even be more dangerous to your emotional and physical well-being to work from home because no one is keeping an eye on how you are doing. You need to get ahead of stress before it brings you down. Here are six easy ways you can take care of yourself:
1. Keep Ergonomics in Mind
In all likelihood, you did not plan for ergonomics when you bought furniture for your home. Most of your furniture was probably not designed for hours of use at a time, which makes them inadequate for heavy office work. Try sitting in your chair for an extended amount of time. If you find yourself constantly shifting or with a backache, you will likely need to replace or modify it to suit your new situation. So, if you’ve hesitated to purchase an ergonomic workstation for your home office, consider making the investment in your health.
Ergonomics does not just apply to furniture. Your tech also needs to be comfortable. Most people can deal with headphones that come with their phones, but if you attend long and frequent virtual meetings, comfortable earbuds that won't leave your ears sore after use are a must. A headset often works better, as they usually come with a microphone.
2. Give Yourself a Break
Working from home is not as easy as many people make it out to be. It is not a magical situation that instantly improves your life. If you do not feel immediately comfortable or enhanced by working at home, fret not - that is normal. You might even feel more stressed or anxious about working from home, and that is also okay. It is a transition, and feeling negative emotions is perfectly natural. Give yourself a break.
3. Consider Investing in Background Noise
Offices are often designed with noise in mind. For maximum productivity, professional workspaces limit the amount of outside noise getting into the area, allowing workers to focus on their tasks. Your home probably does not have that benefit. Fortunately, solutions to block out noise exist. You can simply purchase a noise machine or use an app to drown out any ambient sounds and keep your focus in check. Depending on your work style, you could even pop in your earphones and put on your favorite music.
4. Schedule Your Breaks
Offices have scheduled breaks that encourage employees to rest and recover from the stresses of their jobs. All of us working from home have probably noticed that that type of oversight is not available when working from home, so it is up to you to ensure that you do not push yourself into burnout. Generally speaking, you want to take a break every hour or so, but there are other ways of scheduling your breaks.
The Pomodoro Method, which involves 25 minute sessions and taking 5 minute breaks in between, is a favorite for many people who work from home. It is flexible and allows them to handle household chores without costing them their flow and productivity. If that does not work for you, numerous ways to adjust your work from home schedule until you find a rhythm that lets you be at your best.
5. Set Work Hours and Stick to Them Diligently
Many companies believe that letting employees work from home will result in a world of slackers, when nothing could be further from the truth, and these days, most companies don’t have a choice whether to let employees in the office or not. One of the biggest problems you will face is being able to "leave work". You live where you work, and your bosses won't be there to tell you to clock out. It is up to you to develop the discipline to leave the job and rest mentally.
One tip that may help you is to create starting and leaving work rituals. For example, you can dress professionally when beginning your work hours, and change out of those clothes when your day is done. Do that consistently, and eventually your mind will associate changing out of professional attire with entering "rest mode," allowing you to recover and stay healthy.
6. Set House Rules
When working from home, one of the most significant changes you can make is to set house rules about your work hours. Make sure that your friends and family understand that you are not to be interrupted when you are on task. Additionally, you can enlist housemates to help keep your hours clear by handling deliveries or pets during work hours.
Working from home can be a grand experience, but that experience does not come automatically or magically. It is an experience you need to craft. Those tips should help, but they are far from the only strategies you can employ. Use as many tips as you can, and you will find working from home to be positive, productive, and profitable.