Working from Home 2.0
It is eight weeks since I posted My Tips for Working from Home blog. Now, I want to check in to see how you are doing, especially if you are a new remote worker because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our daily interactions are centred around our homes. Ideally, you are in a flow now supported by healthy habits. However, if you’re missing a routine, feeling isolated and/or longing for the in-person contact with your co-workers, I have a few suggestions. Let’s explore my working from home 2.0.
Routine and Discipline
If you’re adjusting and adapting to working from home with the kids and your spouse around this is a vast change. A routine will keep things coordinated and civil. It may be important to re-visit the routine each week and find one that works best for everyone. While the immediate health benefits of physical distancing and avoiding common workplaces are obvious, it’s important to consider what habits will keep both your mind and body healthy working from home.
Suggestions for Maintaining Healthy Habits
- Set a routine for Monday to Friday that is different from the weekend.
- This includes getting up the same time every weekday as you would if you were working outside of the house.
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Commit to some form of exercise, even if it is only 10 minutes.
- Dress (no pajamas, no sweats) for the day as if you were interviewing for your dream job on Zoom
- Work in intervals that best suit your productivity time and/or balancing your responsibility to help home-school the kids.
- Take breaks for healthy snacks and stay hydrated.
- Eat a healthy lunch at the same time every day and stop for dinner at the same time, then focus on some fun factors in the evening.
- Be disciplined to include longer fitness activities such as walking with a friend in your neighbourhood or on an open trail.
- Be mindful of the COVID19 media loop going 24/7 in the background. Personally, I stopped watching the news and press conferences four weeks ago and it has made a positive impact to alleviate some of the underlying stress of the global pandemic.
Feeling Isolated and Lacking Boundaries
Our daily interactions are shown to support a sense of wellbeing and community. We all have different working styles and unique needs and an outward office environment can fulfill some of them. Now with the global pandemic, even those seasoned remote workers like myself are forced to stay at home with the entire hospitality industry shut down, travel limited to essential purposes only, fitness centres closed and many stores closed to in-person shopping experiences. This can create a sense of isolation. Plus, the lack of boundaries, as your home is now providing all those “normal outlets”. Remote working has been trending for the past two decades and there has always been a concern about the feelings of isolation, however now with the lockdown, it’s crucial to put the healthy habits in place so these feelings don’t become chronic and lead to other health concerns.
Suggestions for Maintaining Healthy Habits
- If you have the means and a large enough space, move your office to one room in the house or create a partitioned area in your largest room (not the bedroom). This will at least give you a physical separation from your “work” and “play” area.
- If you miss your “office life”, make sure you are creating opportunities daily to have short virtual coffee breaks with your co-workers. If it makes sense, reach out to your manager and let them know you’re missing these interactions. They should have systems in place to assist.
- If you haven’t done this already, ask yourself “How do I work best for productivity?” And what fun factors do I need daily to keep a balanced mindset?” Then set up time, activities, and boundaries to accommodate that.
- When your work is done for the day, disconnect from your devices. Don’t spend the majority of the night on social media or gaming as your evening extracurriculars. Disconnecting will not only refresh you and be good for your mental health, but it will promote an improved sleep pattern.
Some research is suggesting due to the economic and productivity factors working from home may continue after the COVID-19 quarantine and even after the crisis. If it does become your long-term work situation, putting these healthy habits in place now will be a great support system once we can return to some of our normal pre-COVID activities… like going to the gym, meeting friends for a drink on a patio after work, and traveling for a vacation!
We are adjusting and adapting to this new culture and environment. Each day is a new day to learn how to best navigate it for you. I hope my tips for working from home have helped!
Ten Minutes with Jane – Employee Wellness
About Jane Dummer RD: As a science-based business owner, author, speaker, food traveler, entrepreneur, and writer for Bakers Journal, Jane is known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant.