For many of us, working from home is now the new normal. In-person meetings have been replaced with video chats, and we’re more likely to wear sweatshirts than suit jackets.
As our professional and personal worlds collide, this adjustment can be challenging. And with any new routine, it is important to make room for both your mental and physical health.
The following are some tips to keep you productive and healthy when working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Keep a schedule
While it might be different from your usual one, keeping some sort of daily schedule helps your mental health by keeping a sense of normalcy. One important part of your schedule should be getting enough sleep every night. Sleep helps you stay mentally sharp and is also critical in keeping your immune system strong. Be sure to go to bed and wake up at decent hours. Also, avoid taking long naps during the day.
Even though you aren’t leaving your home, it is still important to get ready for work each morning. This will help you transition into your day and get ready to focus. Change out of your pajamas, wash your face and brush your teeth. Try to get up about an hour before you start working so you can spend some technology-free time with your family, have reflection and quiet time alone, or make breakfast.
Have a start and end to your work day
Along the lines of keeping a schedule, it is important to have start time and an end time to your work day. This will help you set healthy boundaries and avoid work burnout. It will also give you time in your schedule for self-care and recharging.
After your work day is over, focus on doing something that brings you joy. Maybe that is socializing with family and friends over video chat. It could also be reading, journaling, cooking or listening to a podcast. Whatever your hobby, make sure it is a part of your new daily routine.
Designate a space for work
First and foremost, don’t lay in bed all day and work from there. Your bed is for sleeping. Instead designate an area of your house as your home office. It should be a room where you can be alone or a low-traffic area of the house. Most of all, it needs to be a space in which you can concentrate.
Using noise-cancelling head phones is a great way to drown out background noise if you live with others. Soft music or natural sounds are best for concentration.
Your work space should also have a chair where you can sit up straight and practice good posture. You can also decorate your work area to help brighten your day each morning when you sit down.
Remember to eat and make healthy food choices
Don’t forget to eat meals while working throughout the day, especially lunch. Taking a break from work to eat also gives you a mental break from your computer screen. When eating during your work day, focus on healthy options like proteins, fruits and vegetables. They will help give you lots of energy. Avoid consuming processed foods and try to also limit your snacking. Drinking water throughout the day is a must as well to stay hydrated.
Stay active and get outside
Physical activity throughout your day, even in small bursts, can improve your overall productivity and mood. Try not to sit for long periods of time without any type of physical activity. Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, take some time to stretch and do a few yoga poses or even a couple of push-ups. Schedule times throughout your work day to do this.
Research also shows that spending time outdoors helps you relax and lowers stress. Over your lunch break, go for a quick walk or run outside. If it is a nice day, work outside for a little bit on your porch or patio. You’ll find yourself in a better mindset to tackle the rest of your day.
Stay in touch with your coworkers
In the in-person office setting, you’ll often pop over to a coworker’s desk to chat about their weekend or how their kids are doing. Don’t let social distancing stop these conversations from happening!
Be sure to check in with your coworkers regularly, and not just via email. If you don’t already do video chats for work meetings, consider doing one so you can all see each other’s faces. Also, share and discuss any professional or personal tips that have been helping each of you during this time. Remember, we’re all in this together!
Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.