A trend is emerging in the workforce today. More employees than ever before are considered “telecommuters” or those of us that work from home. Many believe this to be the promised land of careers, and it does have great benefits (working in your pajamas, anyone?), but that is not to say it is any easier than working in an office. Flexible hours can mean that the lines of your workday blur, sometimes seeping into what should be personal or family time. You still have someone to answer to, but you will have self-imposed deadlines on top of that.
When I first started working from home, I took advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to get up and drive to the office every day. As certain Disney movies should have prepared me for, much like playing hooky from school, the novelty wears off. It is so important to maintain the boundary between career and home life, or your entire home can end up feeling like the office, which is never a good thing. Not going to the office also means less time out and about, so it’s important to remember to get up and find time to exercise.
Here are a few tips to help keep everything running smoothly when you work from home:
Break often – When deadlines creep up on me, I find myself staying at my desk for hours at a time, rarely getting up during the day. This is not the way you want to work! Getting up regularly throughout the day helps de-stress your body and mind from too long in front of the computer. Switching out of work but staying at the computer does not count as a break! Get up and get moving.
Stay hydrated – In a home setting, it can sometimes be easy to forget how important staying hydrated is. Many offices have coffee machines and an assortment of teas/water bottles at your disposal. Try to keep this in mind when working from home! Keep a bottle of water with you at your desk, or use your breaks to refill that last cup of tea.
Organization is key – Disorganization is a home worker’s nightmare. You don’t want to be pulled in 10 different directions in the office, so don’t do it to yourself at home! Keep a planner or whiteboard on or near your desk at all times if lists are what you like. Use your phone or google calendar if that is what works best for you! Find whatever method is best for you, this will save you so much in potentially wasted time and energy.
Office hours are still a thing – Working from home has its benefits. Using it as an excuse to work until 11pm every night is not one of them. Do not try to work from your bed, or at your dining room table. Keep your work area separate from where you do your living, sleeping or eating. These are special places that should be reserved for activities outside of work, whether it’s eating dinner with your family or reading a book before bed. Do not take your work to bed with you, it inhibits sleep patterns and will cause more stress.
Fresh air – Being outside is automatically a small form of exercise. Take a short brisk walk on your lunch break, or clock out a little early and meander. No matter how you do it, you are boosting your immunity by getting outside. Soak up that vitamin D and enjoy!