9 Ways To Have A Healthy Work-From-Home Routine

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Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. It can seem like a dream come true if you’re tired of that morning commute — but it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Working from home allows you to work on your own time and control your schedule to a large degree. But it seriously curbs your daily social interactions. There’s no support around if you need it, and staying focused and productive can often be a challenge.

To help, I’ve put together 9 tips to help you develop a healthy work-from-home experience.

  1. Develop a work-from-home routine – Get up at the same time, go through the same morning routine as if you were going into an office, and structure your day on a similar schedule and in a similar pattern.
  2. Create an office space – Set it up as best as you can like an office space with not just a computer and printer, but other supplies you need to work efficiently.
  3. Get dressed, for real – Getting dressed in the morning is another way to signal your brain that the day has officially begun and you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get going.
  4. Move your body – Switch positions at least three times per day — ideally every hour.
  5. Plan breaks – Set a schedule for yourself and set notifications on your phone to remind you.
  6. Don’t eat where you work – Try not to sit down and eat in front of your computer and browse online; it can make it harder to get back to work and back on track.
  7. Open windows – According to the Environmental Protection Agency: “If too little outdoor air enters indoors, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems.”
  8. Remove obvious distractions – Set boundaries with friends and family, don’t have your phone on your desk unless you need it for calls and keep your home office space as clean and clutter-free as you would your workplace office.
  9. Stay accountable – Don’t let yourself get away with procrastination or other poor work habits that you wouldn’t entertain at the office.

By setting a healthy work-from-home routine for yourself and maintaining a clean, well-organized workspace, you can actually get a lot done while enjoying the freedom of working from home.

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Develop a work-from-home routine

When you’re going into an office on a regular basis, there is a similar pattern in your day to day actions. This tells your body and your brain that it’s time to get into ‘work mode.’ This is even more important when working from home and distractions are plentiful. Set a daily work-from-home routine for yourself and do your best to stick to it.


Create an office space

Ideally, if you can keep home and workspaces separate this is going to give you both a mental and a physical break. But if you haven’t got that dream home yet with a dedicated home office, do something to differentiate the space. A great way to deal with this is to keep your work contained in one room – and the bedroom really isn’t the optimal choice. If you don’t have a full room for this, take it one step further and limit it to one area, maybe a corner or one side of the room.


Get dressed

You don’t have to go full out with a suit or spend a lot of time on hair and make-up but well dressed enough that you’d be prepared to go out for a casual lunch. Note what wardrobe choices make you feel the most energized and ready to work. For some people that may be gym clothes and for others jeans and a button-up shirt. An article in Scientific American highlights how clothing impacts performance. For example, formal outfits lead to higher abstract thinking, while wearing a lab coat like a doctor can improve your performance. And color counts as well; while wearing red athletes tend to lift a heavier amount of weight, as opposed to the color blue. The point is, what you wear matters.


Move your body

If you’re working from home, chances are you’re not moving from your desk as often as you would if you were in an office, and the distance you move may be significantly shorter. Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time can really cause muscles to tighten up. Your hip flexors, for example, become shorter, weaker, and tighter. To combat this and avoid stiffness Cathy Prince, fitness manager and Tier X coach at Equinox Century City in LA, suggests changing your seat often. Try these variations:
          1. Sitting on a stability ball with feet planted
          2. Cross-legged on the floor
          3. On the couch with legs extended
          4. Or even try a standing desk


Plan breaks

Showing up to the office every day is part of the work you put in; you put in your time, clock out to go home. When you lose that part of the routine, you additionally might lose some of the benefits in taking regular breaks. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re working on a project or doing any kind of absorbing task. But downtime is a natural part of the daily rhythm, and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking breaks. Take lunch like you normally would, and spend a few minutes each hour on your feet to keep active.


Don’t eat where you work

Along with taking breaks, make sure you make time for lunch and get away from your desk or workspace. If you can, make an effort to eat outside of the house when possible, so that you return to work with fresh eyes and renewed energy.


Open windows even in the winter

“Indoor air pollution may be as much or more of a problem as pollution outdoors” states an article in Science of the Total Environment. One of the simplest things you can do to improve the air quality in your house or apartment is to open the windows, even just a bit and even in the colder months.  Once you do it, you’ll realize just how heavy the air was and as a bonus, the new fresh air will give your brain and energy levels a bit of a boost.


Remove obvious distractions

When working from home, it’s so easy to get distracted. Suddenly household chores become much more compelling when you’re facing a tough work deadline or project that you dread doing. You’re also close to your own kitchen which is an inevitable draw. Add to that friends, TV, social media, and distracting clutter, and suddenly focus becomes a real problem. Try setting a schedule for your work and sticking to it, including breaks and meal times.


Stay accountable

Lastly, stay accountable. If you’re really being pulled towards videos you’d like to watch or those errands that will take you out of the house for an hour or so, try setting up a reward system for yourself and do those things once you finish a certain task. If you live with someone, help each other to stay accountable and focused by not distracting one another. Also, set up regular check-ins with your manager or someone on your team and test out some free time management apps such as Rescue Time which provides reports on how you’re spending time on your computer.

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About the Author

Hunter Phoenix

Hunter Phoenix

Certified Professional Life Coach

Hunter has an M.A. in Psychology and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. For more than 10 years, she coached clients to find and follow their passion and live their best lives. Hunter has also done youth coaching work with Covenant House, realizing that this is such a challenging and important time in life.
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