More and more of us are beginning to work from home, which can be a major adjustment for many. With an office environment, you’re surrounded by people who can hold you accountable and keep you on task. Plus, your brain is programmed to be in “work mode” once you cross the threshold into your work space.
But when you work from home, those lines blur or fade altogether. Your work space may now be your kitchen table or your living room couch. Your office hours may have gone from a set routine to “whenever the kids aren’t in your way.” Things may be chaotic and arrhythmic right now. That’s okay. These are novel times. How you respond to obstacles may also be novel.
Working from home can actually be a productivity blessing. People who work from home are often more productive than they would be at the office. They work for longer on average and get more done because they’re free to do things in a timeframe that makes sense to the natural rhythm of their day.
This is also a great opportunity to start making changes to your daily habits. Think of it like a New Year’s resolution; in a sense, we’re symbolically starting over, just like we do when we ring in the new year. Only now, we’re transitioning from office life to work-from-home life.
But what kind of habits will best suit your new work from home life? We’ve got a routine for the whole day that’ll keep you and your employees at the top of their productivity game while they adjust to working from home.
Wake up at the Same Time Every Day
Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you oversleep and wake up groggy, cranky, and unwilling to do anything… well, the tone for the day won’t be great. That’s why it’s so important to stick to as regular a routine as you can, even if it’s not the routine you were used to before you had to work from home.
If you’re able, find the time your body naturally wakes up in the morning and set your alarm for that time. Otherwise, set your alarm for your designated waking hour and honor it. Your body loves routine and will adjust to it in time.
Bonus Tip: Going to bed at the same time every night will make waking up in the morning even easier. Check out the “A Fabulous Night” journey in the Fabulous app to master your sleep routine in just a few weeks!
Get Dressed in (Mostly) Proper Work Clothes
When you think of someone who works from home, you probably picture someone curled up on the couch in their pajamas and a bathrobe. It’s tempting to give into that image and work in total, loungewear-rific comfort, but behavioral scientists advise against it. The reason is simple enough; we associate our work clothes with working and our relaxing clothes with relaxing. So, when you put your pajamas on, your brain thinks it’s time to binge watch cartoons and sleep. Not the most productive mindset.
However, we also understand that these are unusual times. It might not be practical or necessary to put on a full face of makeup or your stuffiest, most uncomfortable three-piece suit if you’re working from home. Small comforts are fine, like a pair of slippers or sweatpants instead of slacks, but just make sure to at least get dressed every day.
Curate Your Work From Home Space
Some of these tips will be easier to stick with than others. This one in particular may require simply doing what you can with what you have. But your work environment can have a massive impact on your productivity. Think about it; if you’re surrounded by distracting temptations–your living room TV, the kitchen full of your favorite snacks, or the brand new video game you’ve been itching to play–how can you be expected to get any work done? You’re only human and willpower is a limited resource. Use it wisely!
Find a space that you can dedicate solely to working. A spare room would be ideal but even a quiet corner in your bedroom or the kitchen table will work as long as you can fill it with visual cues that tell you it’s work time. The more cues you have, the more it’ll sink into your brain that it’s time to focus on work, not your Animal Crossing island. Unless, of course, you’re hosting work meetings there!
Stay Physically and Socially Active
Chances are likely you don’t travel nearly as much as you used to. Now that you work from home, you have no commute. You have no coworkers to chat with in the break room. Meetings are less casual and more “down to business.” And, let’s face it, you probably don’t get out nearly as much as you used to.
All of this means it’s that much more important to up your physical and social activity. The coronavirus pandemic has made it important to socially distance ourselves but it hasn’t banned us from going outside altogether! You can still enjoy the fresh air. Take a short walk around your neighborhood. Run around your yard with your pets or children. Dance in your living room or on your balcony. The type of activity doesn’t matter as much as doing the activity itself.
We’re also not banned from socializing with people! Call your friends and family. Chat with them on your favorite instant messaging platform. Play a game with them online. Bonus points if you can combine physical and social activities into one! Social distance dance party, anyone?
Remember to Stop Working
As the lines between work and leisure grow blurrier, the feeling of needing to be constantly “on duty” can cause serious distress. That’s why it’s vital to set designated out-of-office hours for yourself. You need that downtime to recharge your mental batteries and refresh yourself for the next workday.
When your workday is over, stop working. Let your coworkers know you’re done for the day. Sign out of your workplace programs, like Slack, and let yourself transition from working mode to not-working mode. Make a routine of it. Drink some water. Stretch. Reflect on what went well and what could be improved. But, most importantly, stop working and let yourself relax. You’ve earned it!
Building brand new habits from the ground up can be daunting but you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, you can get your whole company involved by getting Fabulous for Work. We’ve helped millions of people achieve their personal and professional goals. In fact, over 75 percent of our Fabulous users report feeling happier at work, and nearly 90 percent feel more energized during their workday. Imagine what we could do for you and your company