(2 min read)
In the wake of Coronavirus, working from home has become the norm for many. At first, it may have seemed like the dream. No commute and wearing PJs all day? Count us in. However, is it all that it seems? It may seem all fun and games at first, but when your neighbour’s dog starts to serenade you all day, and your zoom calls just won’t stop freezing, it becomes apparent that it isn’t always the ideal situation. (And don’t get us started on hearing your partner’s ‘work voice’ for the first time. Now you know they’re a person that says “lets park this” and you can’t un-hear it).
Huge numbers of people are now grappling with the more negative sides of remote work. Many have reported drinking more, eating more junk food, getting up later and generally adopting a ‘holiday mindset’. Worryingly, many are also experiencing increased anxiety, loneliness, and stress.
A 2017 study conducted by Eurofound and the International Labour Office found that 41% of home workers reported higher stress levels compared to just 25% of their office working counterparts. With more people working from home than ever, we need to acknowledge that for some, this could be detrimental for mental health.
So, we are here to share the noukk team’s top tips for creating the perfect work from home routine, to help you combat the WFH blues.
Why is Routine Important?
Routine can be important for our mental health and productivity. When we create a schedule for ourselves, it means that we know what to expect from the day. This helps us to combat the stress of the unknown and to organise our thoughts, which makes tasks seem more manageable and less daunting.
At the office, your day is quite structured, so it can be helpful to pretend to be in the office whilst you work from home. Incorporating parts of a ‘normal working day’ can help you focus on what needs to be done, in the knowledge that you can relax once the day ends. This helps you remain productive during working hours.
So, create a work from home routine for yourself and promise to stick to it. Use our tips to make a checklist and celebrate micro-achievements throughout the day as you tick off planned tasks.
Tip 1: Start Your Morning Right
Your wake-up routine will set the tone for the rest of the day, so it’s worth getting it right.
- Have a set wake-up time every day. This is an effortless way to create consistency and to feel in control of your days. Different people need different amounts of sleep, but choose a time that works for you and stick with it.
- Once you’re up, make your bed immediately. This will help you avoid the temptation of crawling back in, and having this small achievement under your belt will give you purpose for the rest of the day.
- Shower and get dressed. Yes, we know how comfy your pyjama trousers are, but trust us you will feel better once you have put on real clothes. It will leave you feeling capable, professional, and ready for anything.
- Have a healthy and filling breakfast. Getting the right nutrition will energise you for the workday ahead.
- Go over your schedule. Think about what you want to achieve and how you’ll do it, so you can use your time wisely.
Tip 2: Create Work-Life Balance
Nobody likes taking work home with them, so what happens when home is work?
- Don’t work where you eat, relax, or sleep. In a 2019 survey, Buffer found that being unable to unplug after work is the biggest downside of homeworking. Having a space that is only for work helps you create a mental distinction between work and relaxation, so you can switch off at the end of the day.
- Have mindful meals. Step away from your desk at mealtimes and focus on enjoying the food. This will allow you to have a proper break when you need it.
- Work your hours. If possible, work the same hours you would at the office, and avoid ad hoc scheduling that makes it hard to turn off your work brain.
Tip 3: Perfect Your Workspace
We have established that you need a dedicated workspace. Now let’s look at creating a sanctuary for productivity.
- Find a desk and chair that you love. Incidentally, we recommend our stylish plywood desk. It’s easy to assemble, eco-friendly and is a great addition to any modern workspace. If space is tight, you can tuck it away when you’re done.
- Include objects that calm and inspire you. Books, candles, pictures and ornaments are all great for this.
- Invest in a houseplant. Just do it. They look great. Signed, a millennial.
- Choose a ‘go-to’ playlist. Even if it’s James Blunt, there’s no judgement here.
- Ensure that you are comfortable. Sitting at a desk all day can cause issues for your back, so find equipment that helps your posture. Our ergonomic laptop stand is ideal for this. Portable and chic, you can’t go wrong.
Tip 4: Diet and Exercise
It’s a basic one, but so important for well-being. Incorporate fresh air and good food into your work from home routine.
- Plan meals ahead of time. Save time in your day and make it easy to eat good things. Plan at the start of the week and follow it as much as possible.
- Move a little each day. Dance around the room to your favourite YouTube workout, or go for a jog. Exercise is great for physical fitness and for brain function.
- Treat yourself! Working from home can be hard, and the odd cookie (or three) here and there is encouraged. Eat intuitively and enjoy.
- Limit alcohol. You knew this was coming. Try and keep drinks to a minimum to keep a clear head and reduce the dreaded ‘hangxiety’ that simply won’t help you be your best self.
Tip 5: End Your Day on a High
So, you’ve come to the end of your daily routine. What now?
- Have a set bedtime. Like your wake-up time, this creates consistency and ensures you’ll get enough sleep to function.
- Limit screens before bed. Find the time after work to relax away from screens. Read a book, do some yoga, and wind down the old-fashioned way. A break from computer screens is proven to help you nod off.
- Keep your bedroom for sleeping. Train your brain to understand that when you are in your room, you are ready for bed. This distinction will help you to relax.
- Most of all, it is important to go easy on yourself. The shift from the office to remote working can feel weird at first and finding time for self-care will help you find your feet. Hopefully, our tips for creating the perfect work from home routine will help you to flourish in your new environment.
- Eurofound and the International Labour Office (2017), Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work, (Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, and the International Labour Office, Geneva)
- Mariana Plata, The Power of Routines in Your Mental Health, Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-gen-y-psy/201810/the-power-routines-in-your-mental-health
- Ellie Robbins, The Secret Benefit of Routines, It Won’t Surprise You, Headspace, https://www.headspace.com/blog/2016/08/22/the-secret-benefit-of-routines-it-wont-surprise-you/
- How To Get a Good Night’s Sleep, The Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-get-good-nights-sleep
- Nate Swanner, Working From Home Doesn’t Automatically Solve Burnout, Dice Insights,https://insights.dice.com/2019/07/23/burnout-remote-work-study/
- The State of Remote Work Report, Buffer - https://buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2019
- Andrea Deslandes et al, Exercise and Mental Health: Many Reasons to Move, Neuropsychobiology (2009) https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/223730