How to: Work from Home
For many of you, working from home is new (albeit temporary) normal. This may be something that really suits some of you, and for others not so much. I received an informative chart from my body corporate company this morning which gives a clear template for how to construct a balanced and productive work day. I thought I would share it with you in case any of you find it helpful. Even I – who am not technically ‘working’ right now – found it helpful, so if you are like me and are at home *not* working, feel free to adapt it to your purposes.
Here is an outline of what the chart suggests:
Start the day with exercise
This can be as energetic as a jog or Jane Fonda-style indoor aerobics, or as mellow as some stretches and gentle yoga. Starting the day with movement can help reset your mind and energise you for the day ahead.
Schedule Coffee Breaks
While you don’t have to drink coffee on these breaks (and for many it would be more helpful to go caffeine-free, especially in the afternoon, if it disrupts your sleep), it is a great idea to schedule breaks. This is when you can have a healthy snack, drink some water, get up and stretch – generally refresh your mind and body. The chart also suggests you can use this time to brainstorm with colleagues; I would suggest that you could take this time either to unplug temporarily from work altogether, or coordinate your breaks with your colleagues so you can chat socially for a few minutes before returning to the job at hand.
No matter how busy the day gets, remember to schedule a lunch break. Eating a nourishing lunch that includes all the good stuff – carbs, protein, fibre and a small amount of healthy fat – will give you energy for the rest of the day. Stay away from highly processed packaged foods, as these are generally bankrupt in nutrition and high in sugar, and will put you on that roller-coaster of energy peaks and troughs. To keep your energy levels (and your mood) stable, choose fresh wholefoods. I like eating last night’s leftovers for lunch, but if that’s not your thing, a sandwich or a salad works too. For more ideas on healthy and balanced meals, check out the Nutrition Circle’s Recipe Hub.
The periods of your day devoted to work will likely be carried out at the dining table or perhaps in a home office. Wherever you are, ensure you have plenty of natural light and fresh air, and your workspace is clean and tidy. I realise that may be a tall order when you’re in the middle of a billion things, but I would encourage you to at least tidy at the end of each day. Follow this simple principle: tidy on the outside, tidy on the inside. Put simply, if your surroundings are tidy, you will find your mind calmer and your thoughts more organised.
The chart suggests using the later afternoon period for planning. This section is all about defining your tasks, writing to-do lists, and setting achievable deadlines. You can use this time to check in on colleagues and plan the next day’s work; I would also suggest a voluntary debrief to show yourself everything you done that day. There’s no satisfaction like crossing something off the to-do list, and in fact if there’s something you got done that wasn’t on the list, feel free to write it in just so you can cross it off.
Set clear boundaries for the end of the workday. When you’re working at home, these lines can get blurred; so decide when your clock out time is, and stick to it. Sign off from work chats, tidy your desk; you could also do your end-of-day debrief in this section. Do you regular routine that signifies the end of the workday.
For some of you, saving exercise for after work is closer to your usual routine, and if that’s the case, I would suggest sticking with that. Going for a walk after work can be a great idea, especially if you’ve found yourself sitting for the last few hours. It’s a great way to clear the head and stretch the limbs, as well as getting some fresh air.
I hope you are all finding the adjustment to more time spent at home – whether working or not – an easy one. I am finding more time for things I enjoy, such as cooking and reading, as well as for things that have needed to be done for some time, such as cleaning out certain cupboards. I would love to hear about how you are all adjusting to being more at home.
This article is for information purposes only, and is not intended to give personal health advice. For more information see your health care practitioner.