Are you finding it a little hard to focus these days? Is your energy level more sluggish than usual? Does your body feel tight and twisted up after sitting at your desk all day long?
How to Make Working From Home, Work For You
If you were an office worker before the pandemic and have been working from home, you may be yearning to go back for a little normalcy. If you were already working from home, you know that bad work from home habits can negatively impact your personal wellness. In 2021 we are certainly looking forward to better times but returning to the office still isn’t in our immediate sights.
Here, we look at ways that you can help yourself stay positive while we remain mostly at home. We're not going to tell you to breathe more and meditate (although that does help!), but here are practical tips for staying sane as we continue to work from home.
If your holiday gifts didn’t include a standing desk, consider investing in one for the future. Standing up helps stretch your muscles, build strength and improves your posture. On top of that, if you are presenting during a virtual meeting, your energy levels will be up, making you more interesting and engaging. If you don’t want to invest in a standing desk you can make one in your home using a countertop or a bookshelf.
The key is not to stand up too long. It’s recommended that you stand for 45 minutes of every hour and sit the other 15. In the beginning you may feel tired doing this, but your body will get used to it. If you’re hoping to get your steps in, standing at your desk won't necessarily register as exercise, but trust us, you are doing your body good! If you already have a standing desk, try adding a balance board to your setup. This engages your core while you balance more than just standing does.
Gone are the days of perfect work-life balance with eight hours dedicated to work, eight hours for sleep and eight hours for personal and family life. Okay, that was never a reality, but it’s even less so now. You may have kids working alongside you in your home office, a spouse conducting a presentation for their job in the next room, or pets that seem to love barking just at the wrong moment. Plus, now that everyone is home, people are finding they are invited to very early morning meetings or late-night conference calls.
To protect your sanity, schedule everything on your work calendar–both personal and professional appointments. If you have tennis lessons at 6PM, block your calendar starting at 5:30PM. If you need to feed your kids lunch at a certain time, block that off too. If you need to take a walk or hit the yoga mat–schedule it! These guardrails will help to protect your time and keep you on track.
Okay, we said we weren’t going to talk about breathing, but getting some fresh air outside is always a good idea. If you think you’re too busy to take a walk in the middle of the day–reconsider. Getting outdoors will help clear your mind and allows you to think about the remaining day ahead. You will show up to your next team meeting or task with fresh ideas and fresh energy. If you think it’s too cold to walk outside, remember you burn more calories walking in cold air than in warm air. That should motivate you!
Avoid the Expected Answers
Almost every virtual team call starts the same. The host greets attendees with saying things like, “How are you?” and attendees say they’re fine. We like to be polite, but the reality is this level of politeness can get dull. Why not mix it up a little? If someone asks you about your weekend, give a real answer instead of saying it was “good”. If someone asks what you do, ask if they are asking what you do at work or what you want to do in life. Mixing things up and sparking fun conversation can lead to deeper connections and just might be the highlight of everyone’s day!