With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have had to adjust to working from home. While working remotely can offer benefits such as flexibility, it can also lead to feelings of isolation, burnout, and poor mental health. To maintain wellbeing while working from home, it is crucial to adopt specific strategies that help facilitate a work-life balance and promote mental and physical health. Here are the top strategies for maintaining wellbeing while working from home.
Set up a dedicated workspace
Creating a dedicated workspace can help improve focus and productivity. Designate a specific area in your home for work-related activities. This space can be a spare bedroom or a corner in your living room, but it should be a place where you can focus on work without distractions. Ensure you have a comfortable chair, and your computer is at eye level, to avoid craning your neck forward, leading to neck or shoulder pain.
Establish a routine
Working from home can blur the boundaries between work and personal life, leading to feelings of burnout and stress. Establishing a routine can help create a sense of structure and order in your day. Set a regular schedule that includes designated work hours, breaks, and time for self-care activities. This routine will help improve focus and productivity, leading to a better work-life balance.
Take regular breaks
When working from home, it can be tempting to work through breaks and lunch hours to finish projects faster. However, taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity and wellbeing. Taking breaks can help reduce stress, improve focus, and increase creativity. Consider taking a few minutes every hour to stretch, go for a walk, or do something enjoyable.
Stay connected with colleagues
Working from home can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Staying connected with colleagues can help combat these feelings and foster a sense of community. Schedule virtual team building activities or regular check-ins to stay connected with colleagues. These interactions can help improve morale, motivation, and mental health.
Prioritize self-care activities
Self-care activities are essential for maintaining mental and physical health, particularly when working from home. Prioritize activities such as regular exercise, healthy eating, meditation, and quality sleep to maintain wellbeing. Engaging in activities you enjoy, such as reading, cooking, or spending time outdoors, can also help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Limit screen time
Working from home often involves spending long hours sitting in front of a computer screen, leading to eye strain, headaches, and neck pain. To maintain wellbeing, it is essential to limit screen time. Consider using the 20-20-20 rule, where every 20 minutes, look away from the screen, and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise can help reduce eye strain and improve focus.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and being aware of one’s thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress and increase focus, leading to better mental health. Consider incorporating mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing, meditation, or visualization, into your daily routine.
Practice time management
When working from home, there are various distractions that can lead to a loss of time management skills. Having an efficient time management system can enhance productivity, performance, and wellbeing. Therefore, create and prioritize a to-do list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Use a timer to keep track of the time spent on each task and avoid multitasking, which can lead to decreased performance and increased stress.
Setting boundaries between work and personal life can help maintain wellbeing, productivity, and motivation. Ensure to communicate to colleagues that your working hours remain unchanged and allow for personal time to pursue self-care, hobbies, and other activities. This gives the brain a chance to recharge, helps increase focus and creativity, leading to better performance, and reduces the risk of burnout.
Build a Supportive Network
Working from home can often feel isolating or leading to feelings of loneliness. Building a support network of friends, colleagues, and other professionals can help alleviate established feelings. Joining professional support groups or organizations can help increase your connections, mental stimulation, and learning opportunities.
Take Time Off
Ensure to take time off for vacation, personal or sick leave, and other responsibilities as needed. Failure to take time off can lead to higher levels of stress and lead to decreased motivation and performance in the long term. Taking time off can help reduce stress, improves focus and creativity, leading to better performance.
Burnout can lead to decreased performance, productivity, and motivation, leading to adverse effects on wellbeing. Working from home can lead to challenges like difficulty separating work and personal life or an unregulated workload. Ensure to practice self-care, set clear boundaries, and create a supportive network to avoid burnout.
Stay Active and Engaged
Engage in physical activities like regular exercise or stretching for better mental and physical health. Exercise decreases stress and fatigue, leading to better cognitive function, mood, and sleep. Participate in new activities or hobbies to learn new skills or practice old ones. Engaging in such activities boosts a sense of purpose, wellbeing, fulfillment, and enjoyment.
Seek Professional Support
Challenges such as burnout, anxiety, or depression can arise while working from home. These challenges are difficult to recognize and often treated as part of the job. If you experience any symptoms, including sadness, irritability, concentration difficulties, or feelings of hopelessness, speak to a professional or doctor for assistance. Professional support can help alleviate symptoms and improve functioning, increase coping mechanisms and enhance wellbeing.
Create a Positive Work Environment
Create a positive work environment that promotes motivation, relaxation, and creativity. Use of scents, colors, or sounds can enhance relaxation and focus. Ensure that the space is well lit, decluttered for better focus and creates visual appeal. Personalizing space with artwork, plants, or memorabilia can create a positive space that is comfortable, functional and improves mental wellbeing.
Keep Learning and Growing
Learning new skills can enhance critical thinking, creativity, cognitive flexibility, and problem-solving skills leading to better performance and personal growth. Consider taking online courses, reading articles or books, attending webinars or workshops. New skills mean more professional development and opportunities that can lead to self-fulfillment and wellbeing.
Take Advantage of Technology
Technologies such as calendar reminders, goal setting apps, teleconferencing, and virtual project management can enhance productivity, collaboration, and work-life balance. These technologies increase adaptability, communication, and overall satisfaction with work, leading to better wellbeing.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Working from home can lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating, smoking, or excessive use of alcohol. These habits can lead to stress, decreased motivation, and overall poor health. Instead, practice healthy habits such as taking breaks, exercising, or participating in self-care activities.
Maintaining wellbeing while working from home requires a conscious effort to establish boundaries, prioritize self-care activities, and create a positive work environment. The strategies outlined above can help create a balanced lifestyle with work, personal life, and self-care. Everyone’s situation is different, and it’s essential to find the strategies that work best for you. Keep in mind that maintaining wellbeing is a continuous process, and it’s important to be patient with yourself and make adjustments as needed.
Remember that even small steps can make a big difference in enhancing your mental and physical health, and in turn, your overall performance and productivity. By following these tips, you can optimize your work-life balance, increase your motivation, and enhance your overall wellbeing while working from home. With the right approach and support system, you can thrive both personally and professionally while working remotely.