We know the pandemic has transitioned many of our patients away from working in a traditional office environment to a remote work setting that can be stressful. We also know the challenges of that transition may have made it difficult to foster a healthy work-life balance, especially for those going remote for the first time. If you’re looking for advice on how to practice healthy work from home habits, or how to set up your home workspace, we’re here to help.
Keep reading to learn about five practical and beneficial work from home habits to help you increase productivity and reduce stress.
1. Create a home office space
First, make an office space dedicated to working remotely. If you can, separate your home office from your living room or your bedroom to create a distraction-free area with the function and comfort tailored to your needs. If you’re a parent, talk to your kids to ensure they understand why your home office space is solely for working and why you require time alone.
Here are a few basics for starting your first work from home setup:
- Pick a private area of your home, away from loud noises or distractions.
- Add personal touches like family pictures or plants that can stimulate productivity and promote positive mental health.
- Consider how your backdrop may look when holding meetings.
2. Practice the 20-20-20 Rule
Nearly half of all Americans are spending more time on screens due to COVID-19 and 60% of people have expressed concern for their vision due to increased screen time. If you feel like you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) like eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and mental fatigue, the 20-20-20 Rule may help.
If you’re unfamiliar with the 20-20-20 Rule, here’s how it works: for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a digital screen, spend 20 seconds staring at an object 20 feet away to rest your eyes. Once your eyes feel rested, go back to work and repeat the process to reduce CVS symptoms throughout your workday. If symptoms persist, make an appointment with your NWPC physician or an optometrist to address any discomfort caused by eye strain.
3. Set a Schedule
We know setting a schedule and placing boundaries on your workday can be challenging, but it’s an essential step to establishing a healthy work from home lifestyle.
If you’re offered the flexibility, start by setting remote work hours and communicating your availability to your supervisor and team. Additionally, update your office calendar with non-working hours and make time for breaks. If you’re a parent, assess and define a schedule that’s flexible or aligned with your responsibilities as well. The goal is to design a remote work schedule that establishes a routine to reduce stress, improve sleep, and promote better overall health.
4. Stay Active
Working from home during COVID-19 can be challenging on many levels, including physical health. Staying active during the pandemic is essential to maintaining our mental and physical well-being. If you’re having trouble finding the time to workout during a remote workday, try adding a 10 minute workout to your lunch break. These micro-exercises work by doing a mixture of the following activities for 30 seconds each at your skill level while taking 10 second rests between each move:
- Jumping jacks
- Wall sits
- Front planks
- High-knee running in place
- Push-ups with rotation
5. Make time for yourself
Setting boundaries and making more time for yourself is one of the most important work from home habits you can make. Use this time to establish a self-care routine or enjoy a meal without worrying about work – it doesn’t always have to be spent exercising or being productive. Remember, you’re done for the day once you leave your digital office and close your laptop.
We understand working from home hasn’t been easy for some, so if you need additional assistance or mental health advice, we’re here for you. Schedule a Telehealth appointment or an in-person visit with your NWPC physician today!