Ece Demir - 24 May, 2020

How to balance life when working from home

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Working from home doesn’t need to be difficult and draining during this isolation period. Here are a few helpful mind and body tips to kick-start your productivity and get those creative juices flowing!

1. Exercise during your would-be commute

Seize the time you would usually be spending on travel and get in a quick short workout. This will help you start the day on a more energetic note, by doing yoga or jog in the morning it will help stimulate your endorphins, which will kick start your day more positively.

2. Shower and change your clothes

This might be logical; however, it is incredibly easy to convince yourself to stay in your pyjamas the entire day at home. You don’t need to change into your work suit but changing into athleisure attire will allow you to be more productive and feel like a functioning adult. 

woman working from home in pyjamas

3. Draft up a plan

When working alone, it is best to keep a more structed daily schedule than usual. At work you have allocated time for lunch breaks, your structure is influenced by other people and you might be stuck in that routine. Plan out certain breaks or realistic completion goals for tasks.

4. Make yourself a proper lunch

This links up with drafting up a plan, instilling a lunch break is important. Working from home is a different setting, so you might not realise it’s 2pm and you haven’t eaten yet. This allows a certain time where you can make yourself something delicious to keep you going.

vibrant salmon lunch plate

5. Beware the frivolous snacking

When you have your fridge and pantry down the hall from you, it might be easy to fall into a habit of eating chips and chocolate. If you are a snacker, try stocking up on some healthy snacks instead – chopped veggies and tzatziki, or apples and peanut butter will help.

6. Set boundaries

Some other people who are not “working from home” could have the idea that you’re new setting means “not working at all”, and this might disrupt your productivity. If someone is shooting you a thousand messages, politely respond “I’ll be working until 5 and can chat later!”

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7. Location is key

Where possible, you should have a dedicated space so you can set up your home office. This will help reduce your distractions and improve productivity, so when you go into that space you know it is time to start working. Your home office should have adequate lighting, good ventilation and temperature control, no excessive noise and clear walkways free from any trip hazards.

trendy home office space

8. Think about your communication

It is important to go beyond simple emailing and use other digital tools which can replicate the in-person office experience and provide clear communication. Using chat apps like Slack, Microsoft Team and videoconference services like Zoom will reflect the same face-to-face conversations and maximise communication.

9. Embrace podcasts

Working from home means that your work friends aren’t around and there is a thick sound of silence in the air. Podcasts are a great way to still have the hum of a human talking and can be a great way to keep yourself informed in the latest news.

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10. Listen to music

Alternatively, if podcasts are too engaging and distracting you, nothing beats soft background music. Spotify and Apple Music are great streaming services that let you pick moods for focus and productivity.

11. Invest in a good pair of headphones

With both of the abovementioned points, a good pair of headphones/earphones can make a world of difference. You might want to invest in a quality pair of headphones with a mic. Noise-cancelling features, long battery life, Bluetooth compatibility and a good microphone will help improve the clarity of your phone calls.

woman wearing headphones while working from home

12. Make time for real friends

The loneliness of working from home could perhaps be the hardest part. Humans are social and being isolated strips that interaction. Make sure you still connect with your friends, whether is it an allocated hour on FaceTime or a quick takeaway coffee walk with your friend.

13. Log out of your most used social media

When you are stuck at home, there is nothing and no one stopping you from scrolling through your social media. However, temporarily signing out has a chastening effect: instead of clicking right into an endless stream of content, you will be greeted with a log-in screen which will remind you you’re supposed to be working.

14. Don’t become Cinderella

Spending all day at home you will realise all the chores and projects that await you: dishes need to be washed, clothes need to be folded, kids’ toys are thrown about. Try doing a quick straightening-up in the morning so you’re not amidst with clutter but try not to do too much housework during work hours because that will just be a distraction and procrastination.

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15. Check-in and strategise with your co-workers

Take the time to meet with your team regularly and effectively. Your online meetings should have an agenda actively involving all members, so they contribute. Communicating privately will also be great to discuss how you/they are processing and the latest developments in your/their personal life.

online meeting while working from home

16. Take care of your mental health

This sounds pretty obvious, but if you are feeling exhausted and stressed out a great idea would be to try talking to someone about it. Explain what is worrying you and how you are feeling and what steps you might be able to take to prevent this feeling.

17. Discover your high productivity periods

Every individual is most productive at different times of the day. Some people are morning people and for others maybe it is during the evening. Discover when you are most productive and build your work schedule around your peak productivity periods.

18. Get ergonomic and aesthetic office furniture

Depending on the space available in your home, purchase a large desk, bookshelves and a comfortable office chair. You can also buy appealing office supplies that might influence your productivity. Ikea and Fantastic Furniture offers affordable furniture.

diagram demonstrating proper ergonomics for desk work

19. Keep your workspace organised

Some people tend to get lazy throughout the day and their desk will look like a bomb hit it. Try keeping your station organised, it helps with productivity and efficiency. It’s easier to find a piece of paper in an organised file cabinet than papers and folders stacked on top of each other.

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20. Be kind to yourself

It might be a cheesy mantra, but remember you’re not simply working from home – as many have said, you’re working from home in the middle of a global health crisis. Just staying healthy and getting through the workday is already an achievement.  

Words by Ece Demir

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