Many of us are confined these last weeks and for the time to come to our home office with the corona Virus going on.
If you are one of those people that can/needs to work from home, you might guess how important it is to create a healthy environment for yourself, especially as you will probably be spending a lot of time in there in the weeks to come.
With a healthy office I do not just mean the office itself and the way you have installed it, but also the surrounding organization. Is your spouse also working from home? If you have children, are they there as well?
I am one of the persons who work from home regularly, also during “normal” times, so I am kind of used to it. At the moment however, we are at home all four of us, and I must say, this requires some flexibility and adjustments (and a lot of patience!)….
What is very important in my opinion, is to have a separate room where you can work. If the children have their own room, it would be best if they work there. My daughter is almost 15, so she does not need me for her homework. My son is 9, he still needs some help and supervision. Usually, we read the exercise together to make sure he understands, and then he goes to his room to work alone. Afterwards, we check if everything is correct.
In this article, I want to give you some tips on how to stay focused and fit in home office that have helped me in my home working experience. The topics I am going to cover are the following:
- How To Create Your Separate Office Space
- How do you stay focused?
- How to organize yourself and not get distracted
- Healthy eating habits while you’re in home office
- Mental and physical health in home office
How To Create Your Separate Office Space
One of the biggest challenges working from home might be to get distracted very quickly. In order to avoid this, it would be a good idea to create a separate office space. In this space, make sure you have a large enough desk and a comfortable chair, as you’ll be sitting in it the entire day.
Also, make sure your internet connection is good, as nothing is more frustrating than having regular internet breakdowns (especially when you are in the middle of a digital meeting, aarrgghhh!!)
As you’ll be spending a certain amount of time on the phone or in meetings, you would want to have a room where you can close the door. Not everyone needs to hear your daughter sing out loud with Ariana Grande (can you tell I am speaking out of experience?)
Personally, I like my office to be well organized, there is a cupboard for my personal and work-related documents and there is enough artificial and especially day light. At least once a day, open the windows to your office and let some fresh air come in, this will help you keep fresh and alert ????
Other than that, I like my office, and all other rooms in my house as well by the way, to have a feel-good factor with a personal touch. There are some pictures and paintings, a plant, a nice chair and coffee table, etc. For me it is important to feel well in this space, even if it is “just” a working space.
How to Stay Focused?
As long as I am here, why not put some laundry in the machine?…. There’s someone shouting outside, wonder what that is all about….didn’t get to see the latest episode of Moneyheist, it wouldn’t hurt if I did that now would it….need to bring my son to his football practice….
There are tons of reasons to get distracted when working from home, that we could easily not do anything at all. As a matter of fact, I am writing this post at 5 pm, when I am supposed to be working…oups!
Daily Organization and Not Getting Distracted
Also, keeping the work space organized is important. Don’t mix your personal stuff with your work-related stuff. Not only is it difficult to find something within the mess, it will also mess up your mental organization.
Do not put on the TV when you are working, don’t go on social media (that’s a tricky one, as soon as you start, an hour seems like 10 minutes and you’ll lose lot’s of precious time) and do not surf on the internet. Stick with the plan you made I the morning and get your work done!
In order to stay effective and concentrated, allow yourself a small break in the morning, during lunchtime and in the afternoon. The best thing you can do in these moments, is to go outside and take some fresh air, walk around a bit and maybe do some simple exercises.
By the way, in order to avoid sitting the whole day, take a walk whenever you have to make a phone call.
Explain to your family members that you need to work! If they need to work too, than everyone can make a daily “to do”-plan and you can keep each other motivated. If they do not need to work, well, they might just respect your wish for peace and quiet during the working hours….or not! Anyway, it could help trying.
Healthy Eating Habits in Home Office
The snack drawer is within reach, well filled with all sorts of bars, chips and biscuits and staring at you…How come you just don’t want to eat that apple? The only thing we crave for seems to be that chocolate bar or that pack of biscuits…
Another challenge of working at home is non-stop eating, and than especially unhealthy food.
Often times we tend to eat junk food when we are bored, or sad, or when we are feeling lonely. Emotional eating it is called (for more info, read my blog post on How to Control Emotional Eating). Also, fatigue and stress play an important factor in our snacking habits. We think that sugar or fat food will make us feel better, but it really doesn’t. Instead, we feel guilty afterwards for not being strong enough to resist.
If you want to avoid eating anything at anytime, I recommend that you create a daily routine. Now that you are working from home, maybe for the first time due to the corona crisis, you must get used to this new working environment. This might take some time, but a normal routine is what your body needs. You can compare it to when you get back from holidays and start to work again. It usually takes a day or two to get back in the working routine. Well, this is the same thing.
Although you know that there are lots of food nearby, do not let yourself be tempted every time you have check off something from your to-do list. You would not do this if you were in the office either, would you? If you need some tips on good snacks that are healthy for you, check out my blog post 15 Healthy High Protein Snacks For Weight Loss
And as for the emotions I talked about above, do not feed them with bad food. Instead, make sure you get enough sleep, do some sport or an activity when you are bored or do what we call an skype-apéro (aperitif via Skype or Teams) with some friends when you feel alone.
Mental and Physical Health in Home Office
First things first, always set your alarm clock
during the week and start your day with getting ready as if you were going to the office. Pj’s are real mood killers! You need your days to be productive and efficient and the fact of getting dressed as usual helps a great deal. I even put on some make up, even if I do not have any Skype/teams meetings planned, it really makes me feel better about myself. Plus, you never know who is going to call you by surprise ????
I discussed it a little bit above already, but doing simple exercises is very important when working from home. We do not have our daily trips to the office anymore and we sit all day long, which is not good for our physical condition. One thing is for sure, we want to stay fit and avoid gaining any weight during this period of confinement, especially with summer coming up in a couple of months!
Since I am working even more from home with the crisis going on than usually, I try to do even more exercise than usual as well. Every day, I go for a walk&run; for 10 km. I would like to say that I just run, but I would be lying. I do notice that my condition is getting better every day, which means that I can walk less and run more ???? I hope that by the end of the month of April, I will be able to run the whole distance.
Another tip to help you relax and concentrate, is meditation. There are several apps where you can do short meditations, 5 or 10 minutes, which are very helpful. As soon as you get the hang of it, you can do it without any help. This is a great energizer before getting back to work. I like to do this just after my lunch break, when the well know after-lunch-dip sets in.
I must say that even though there are numerous distractions which are not always easy to resist, it is easy to work in a concentrated manner when working in home office. You can focus on one thing and not be distracted by that colleague that comes to your desk every hour to tell you that his cat is sick. You do not have to do all the small talk with everyone every morning. It is in many ways much more efficient than working in an office.
Like with everything else, there are pros and cons to both ways of working. Personally, I prefer working from home now that I have my routine up and running. I enjoy the fact that I see more of my family and that I can plan my day the way I want to. I have Video meetings every day with my teams, so I do get to see my colleagues, which of course is important too.
Finally, let’s hope that this period will not last too long, as even when working from home is nice, the fact that we cannot see each other when we want is the most difficult part.
How do you handle working from home? Do you like it, and what are the tips you can share with the rest of us?
I wish all of you all the best and much success with working from home/taking care of the children (and your husband) these weeks and I am looking forward to hearing from you!