The ability to work from home can seem pretty appealing. Endless hours in comfy clothes. Skipping your commute. And, snuggling up on your couch to answer emails instead of an office chair. But, working from home also comes with the need for self-discipline, whether in the form of productivity or just staying healthy.
Here are four tips to make sure your home-office is set up for success.
Make productivity a priority
Let’s face it, working from home can be distracting. The dishwasher needs to be emptied and reloaded. That clean laundry needs to be folded and put away. To limit personal distractions and get work done, you have to make productivity a priority. Here are some things that might help:
Don’t skip the morning routine
While it’s tempting to roll out of bed and head straight for the computer, a morning routine can help set you up for success that’ll last all day.
Get dressed for the day
Comfort is important, but it may be easy to get too comfortable if you work in your pajamas. Getting dressed has been shown to boost self-esteem and help you more easily draw a line between home and work External Site.
Find a productivity hack that works for you
For example, try the Pomodoro Technique®. Set a timer for 25 minutes of work, then take a five minute break. Instead of scrolling social media during your five minute break, get active by doing body weight exercises like push-ups, squats or dynamic stretches.
Create a dedicated workspace
Setting up a home office in a space that isn’t commonly-used can help minimize distractions. Plus, you can set up this space according to the principles of ergonomics External Site. To help you stay healthy and avoid injuries while working at home, consider these tips:
Adjust your chair
The arm rests should be slightly below your elbow height. And, make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor and the lumbar support is near the small of your back. Your feet should be firmly supported by the floor.
Secure your office essentials
While it may be more convenient to work completely from a laptop, that’s not the best long-term. Use a mouse and keyboard and make sure your screens and monitors are placed directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away.
Don’t sit for too long
You have a more neutral back posture when you stand. Plus, even moderate levels of sitting (between three and eight hours a day) can quickly create a negative impact on your overall health.
Focus on your wellness
Build time into your schedule to frequently stretch, take a brief walk or do a quick HIIT workout in your living room. Even if you can’t go to the gym, just a little bit of movement is better than nothing. When it comes to nutrition, eat as if you were in the office. Don’t let the ease of grabbing something from the pantry or refrigerator lead to an all-day snack.
Dana Lemberg, benefits and wellness analyst at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, suggests identifying your trigger if you're struggling with mindless snacking while working from home.
"Are you avoiding a certain work activity, thinking through a problem or experiencing anxiety or stress? Once you have identified your trigger, make a plan for when you will and won't eat. If you go looking for food when you aren't hungry, have a list of other activities you can do instead of eating," says Lemberg.
She also stresses the importance of keeping tempting food out of sight and hard to get to. "And, practice makes perfect when it comes to being more mindful about eating. The more you practice not mindlessly eating, the better you will become at it."
Keep your mental health in-check
Many people see the ability to work from home as a benefit when it comes to flexibility and job performance, but research also shows that its downside may be related to mental health External Site. In fact, remote workers often report feelings of loneliness, isolation and burnout.
When you work from home, you miss out on the face-to-face connections with your coworkers. So, don’t forget to build that supportive network. Remember that it’s important to communicate with your colleagues and find ways to talk through email, services like Skype, or even virtual gatherings over the phone. Things that may have been communicated in informal chats in the hallway or cafeteria may be missed, so be sure to communicate openly and frequently.
Do you need mental health support? Consider a virtual visit through Doctor On Demand® External Site. With Doctor On Demand, Wellmark members can speak with an experienced virtual doctor who can treat common medical conditions, as well as mental health issues like anxiety, depression and much more. Just be sure to log in or register for myWellmark® Opens New Window to check your benefits before seeking services.
The bottom line is, when you're working from home, you have to find what works best for you. Whether you follow these tips or have tips of your own, as long as you are creating an environment that's as productive and healthy as possible, you're winning the work-from-home game.
Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration-controlled substances, and may elect not to treat conditions or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.
For plans that include benefits for mental health treatment, Doctor On Demand benefits may include treatment for certain psychological conditions, emotional issues and chemical dependency. Services performed by Doctor On Demand psychologists are covered. Doctor On Demand does not provide psychiatry services. For more information, call Wellmark at the number on your ID card.
Doctor On Demand is a separate company providing an online telehealth solution for Wellmark members. Doctor On Demand® is a registered mark of Doctor On Demand, Inc.