The healthy way to work from home
Above: Working from home can be very satisfying if you get it right
There has been something of a work from home revolution over the last twelve months, with more and more people leaving the traditional office and setting up in their own house or apartment.
Some are continuing their old job in a new way, while others are striking out on their own as freelancers or consultants. This can bring a welcome relief from the daily grind of a long commute, overbearing bosses, and the time-wasting of office chatter and gossip, but unless you organise your home working process properly, it can bring many problems too.
Look after yourself
It is important that you take steps, literally, to take care of your physical health when you work from home. With no bus to run for, no meetings to go to and no walk to the sandwich shop for your lunch, you may find that you barely get any exercise at all for days on end.
This kind of sedentary behaviour can be seriously detrimental to your health, so get yourself a step counter, a smartwatch, or better still a dog, to prompt you to move more and get fitter.
Similar problems can quickly build up with your mental health if you work from home and don’t interact with anyone all day. Isolation is a major issue for home workers and can quickly lead to depression.
Even if you can’t go out and socialise with workmates, there are lots of places to chat and play online in your downtime, including social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, online casinos like Unibet, and chatrooms for your favourite hobbies and interests, like our very own Ottawalife.com.
Working from home often means you can choose your own hours, fitting your work around your children or other responsibilities, but you still need to set those working hours. If you don’t, you’ll find it all too easy to stay in bed on a cold morning, and just as easy to keep working late, long after you ought to have finished. If you don’t set your hours, you’ll never know when your working day starts or ends.
As a freelancer, if you are not making enough money in a normal working week, you don’t need to work more; you need to charge more. And if you are making enough during your normal hours, you need to learn to be content with that, and not be tempted to keep going to make more than you need. Set goals for your working hours and the money you want to make and stick to them.
Invest in technology that can assist you
It might take you some time to adapt to working remotely. However, this transition does not have to negatively affect your mental and physical health. Instead, you can start looking at the opportunities that are available in front of you.
For example, new types of technology allow you to not only work from home but also do so productively, efficiently, and securely. So, don’t skimp on those software and devices that can help you out. Some of the must-haves include a powerful internet connection, collaboration software, meetings and board software, a cloud system, and cybersecurity features.
Sticking to your working hours will be easier if you can create a home office that you go to and leave at the start and end of each day. Working in the kitchen or the living room will quickly blur the boundaries between work and home, and you’ll never feel off duty.
Boundaries also make it easier for friends and family to respect when you are working and not interrupt you. It’s clearer to your kids not to disturb you in a home office, than it is if you are at the kitchen table when they are making a snack.
Scheduling breaks is as important as scheduling work, especially when you have no colleagues to stop and chat with in the coffee room. The same is true about taking vacations; contracted colleagues will have several weeks available to take time off, and so should you. Short breaks and holidays are important to relax and recharge, and even a day off at home can make all the difference to your motivation and drive.
If you’ve chosen or been forced to work from home over the last year, then you should embrace the opportunity. With a little planning and self-care, working from home can bring you huge benefits, vastly improving your work-life balance and reducing your stress to leave you happier and healthier.