Working From Home Tips – How To Stay Successful
Almost all of us here at Consensio work from home. We have flexible hours and a great work/life balance across the board because of it. Consensio is coming up to 11 years old, and we have found that once you have established a few key changes to the way in which you work, and follow these working from home tips, you can be happier and more productive in the long run. Here are our working from home tips:
Plan a routine and stick to it
This can be setting an alarm each day for the same time, getting dressed out of your pyjamas, or always showering before breakfast. Career coach and writer Marty Nemko said a routine is “something you know you can do well… Modern life, increasingly defined by unpredictability, can be anxiety-provoking, and routines provide an anchor of predictability.”(1)
Have a dedicated working area
This point could also be called, don’t work from your bed. Having a clear area for working, and area for sleeping is incredibly important for your brain to stay focused during working hours and off-work during bedtime. It can be tempting to work from under the duvet, but we’ve found that it blurs the line between work/relaxation, and means that come bedtime your brain will struggle to switch off.
“Unless you are careful to maintain boundaries, you may start to feel like you’re always at work and losing a place to come home to.” – the Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Being More Productive (3)
Never underestimate the benefits of natural light
If possible set your working space near a window. Increased hours of sunlight heighten the brain’s production of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin. Studies have discovered that the more sunlight we are exposed to, the more serotonin we produce.
‘’Light is essential for our health and wellbeing. Ensuring that we receive adequate levels at the appropriate times of day benefits our alertness, mood, productivity, sleep pattern and many aspects of our physiology.” – Dr. Victoria Revell (1)
If you’re able, a great goal is to maintain 10,000 steps each day. Go for a run or walk during your lunch break or after work, or take your (or your neighbour’s) dog for a stroll. There are also great free workouts online. Here is a youtube video of a 30 minute home workout for beginners, there are plenty of videos like this on youtube, find your style and give it a go.
Get/borrow a dog
Video of our Les Gets Area Manager’s dog, Moby, enjoying a lunchtime snowy adventure
Following on from the point above, caring for a dog can be incredibly cathartic. They give you a reason to leave the house each day, and their company can be a great comfort when working from home. Most of the Consensio team have or care for a dog, and we all highly recommend getting one or seeking out a neighbour who needs help walking their own dog. You can thank us later.
Spend some time outside during the day
It’s estimated that more than 40% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. During summer in the UK, you only need 13 minutes of sunlight three times per week to maintain healthy levels among Caucasian adults (2). Whether you eat your lunch while walking around the block, or sit next to an open window, if you’re getting your 13 minutes thrice a week, you are keeping your vitamin D levels nice and healthy.
Eat as you would at the office
There’s a joke about working from home where you will either lose 25lbs or put on 50lb. Jokes and weight aside, it is important to stop and have set meals throughout the day. Snacking on unhealthy food is all too easy, but keep an eye on eating the healthy stuff too so.
The power of power-dressing
If you’re feeling low or unproductive, power dress. Putting on a nice shirt and smart jeans or donning an outfit that makes you feel incredible can set you in the right mood to be a boss that day.
Drink more water
Another great tip when working from home is that it is very easy when working from home to get to 5pm and realise all you’ve had all day is your morning coffee… We recommend filling up a water bottle when you make your morning drink. By keeping it near you when working it is much harder to forget to drink. Make sure to refill the bottle when you grab lunch too.
Here at Consensio, despite most of us working remotely, we stay connected via regular facetime calls, team skype chats, and are all in a social WhatsApp group. Can some of these facetime calls be done via email? Absolutely. But the social aspect of face to face contact has helped to keep our team feeling like a cohesive team. So when we do all get together once a year, it feels as though we know each other really well and are meeting with good friends. It also makes us feel less lonely when working solo.
Schedule breaks and take them properly
It is very easy to fall into bad habits when using a computer for hours on end. When working from home, our tip is to make sure to take regular breaks and do not short-change yourself on time away from your screen, especially during your lunch break. You can use different apps to help you regulate break times by temporarily locking yourself out of your computer. Check out TimeOut for Mac, or Smart Break for Windows, which creates intelligent breaks based on the amount of work you do.
Be realistic with expectations of productivity outside of work hours
When working from home, it can be fun to get inspired and plan to do an hour’s yoga before work each day, and a HIT class at lunch, and learn a new language in the evenings during the time you would be commuting… However, do remember to schedule some time to just sit and scroll the internet, or call your friends or hang out with your pets. Downtime is just as important as active time and making sure your planned routine has space to relax in it, will help it stand the test of time.
Be kind to yourself
Working from home is a big change if you’re used to office life, so don’t worry if you don’t nail it in the first week. Work out what could be improved and try again next week.
- Headspace.com – The secret benefit of routines.
- Harvard Business Review – Being more productive
- rtot.org – How Letting More Light into Your Life Can Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information – Recommended summer sunlight exposure levels can produce sufficient (> or =20 ng ml(-1)) but not the proposed optimal (> or =32 ng ml(-1)) 25(OH)D levels at UK latitudes.