Healthy WFH Habits to Adopt Right Now

By Kaitlin Hurtado on December 17, 2020

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many have found themselves facing the ups and many, many downs of working from home. At first, many considered it a break from the dreary office vibes, as they got to work from the comfort of their own homes. However, months later, many are still forced to work from home due to their state’s COVID-19 guidelines with little to no idea about when they are set on returning to the office. Of this population, many may still be looking for ways to improve their WFH situation.

Whatever your comfort level may be with working from home, there’s always room for improvement. Keep reading for WFH habits that you can pick up to better both your personal and professional life right now.

working from home habits

Photo: Pexels

Eliminate distractions 

While there were distractions while you were working in the office, there sure was nowhere near as many when you are working from home. You may be working from a space full of family members or roommates, where quiet time is hard to come by at any point in the day. Or, you may just be finding any opportunity to step away from your work to do something around the house — laundry, cleaning out the fridge, vacuuming. Sure those little chores take a short amount of time, but those small tasks add up to the point where you may be spending more time distracting yourself with housework than actually doing your job.

That being said, eliminate distractions where you can. If your surroundings and their associated clutter make you want to get up and clean away, make an organized workspace that you know can get you in the right mood for work. Have everything you need within reach — your chargers, notebooks, a glass of water, a sweater. This way, you’re not getting up every time you need something and finding something to get distracted with.

Set time for breaks 

When you are working from home, it is all too easy to stay plugged in throughout the workday, chugging coffee after coffee until it’s time to sign off for the evening. While you are getting your work done, you’re also running yourself into the ground and setting yourself up to feel burnt out.

Instead, manually set time aside for breaks. If you know you are already pretty bad at keeping time throughout the workday, download a mobile app like “Focus Keeper – Time Management” that helps you keep time.

Focus Keeper will set out 25-minute intervals where you can work away as usual, which they refer to as focus sessions. After 25 minutes, the app alerts the user to take a five-minute break — stretch, get water, check your social media — then get back to work.  After four focus sessions, users are encouraged to take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes. Using an app like Focus Keeper can help you get in the rhythm of staying focused and allowing yourself breaks on a regular schedule.

Find ways to treat yourself 

One thing many people are missing out on with working from home is the simple joys that came with office life. Some had a ritual of picking up a coffee and baked treat from their local cafe on their way to work every Monday and Friday as a pick-me-up. Others may have gone out to Happy Hour with their favorite coworkers every payday or two.

These rituals, while we may not have thought much of them at the time, brought joy to our work life and are most likely missed out on now. Even if you are still working from home, try to recreate those rituals. Every Monday, set time aside in the morning to pick up a latte from a cafe. Or, schedule a time with your coworkers where you can chat and dine over Zoom without the pressure of work.

Stick to a schedule 

When you were working somewhere other than your own home, it was easier to stick to a schedule. You likely had a set time where you would leave for work, take a lunch break with coworkers, and leave the office (and all your work) behind for the day. Now that you are working from home, having your previous work/life balance is likely going to be harder.

Try to recreate your schedule from before — a time to wake up, a period where you “get ready” (switch from pajamas to loungewear), work, and then sign off. When you sign off, make sure you are actually signing off. Shut off your computer and set your notifications off so you don’t hear ping after ping even when you’re hours into your evening.

While many of us aren’t completely sure when working from home will no longer be the norm, we can still take action to pick up habits to improve the situation we’re in. Good luck!

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