Working from home is becoming a new norm, with many having to upturn their usual working lives and retreat to an online existence. Research has found that productivity is often increased with Bloom et al (2015) study showing a 13% performance increase from employees working from home. However a market research organisation Opinium found that over a third of employees feel it has negatively impacted on their mental wellbeing. Here are our top 3 tips for working at home to stay happy & healthy.

1. Create a Calm & Inviting Workspace 

Firstly plan out how much space and what equipment you need. Ensuring you have everything you need in one place. Where possible find a space where there is a good supply of natural light throughout the day. With a wave of warmer weather approaching, a space near a window may provide a welcome stream of fresh air. Once logistics have been worked out, it’s time to declutter the space.

Decluttering & minimalism

Decluttering & minimalism is becoming increasingly popular. Many books, tv series and podcasts are emerging with tips & tricks on how to organise and tidy the home. Here are some of our favourites:

KonMari MethodMarie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author and star of the Netflix show tidying up.  This one method put simply involves choosing items to keep rather than get rid of, then decluttering the rest.

The Four Box method – a more flexible decluttering activity. Set up four boxes labeled: Put away, Give away, Throw away, and Undecided to put clutter into and then process each box in turn. 

Minimalist Game – introduced by ‘The Minimalists’ – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. Start at the beginning of the month by getting rid of one item, then 2 items on the second day, 3 items on the third day and so on. By keeping it up for a whole year 496 items will have been decluttered! Challenge a friend to add a competitive element. 

Decorate & Personalise 

Personalise your space with your favourite photographs, fairy lights or inspirational prints. Adorn the area with lush green plants in beautiful pots. Bringing a sense of the outside in plants also provide oxygen & air purifying qualities. House plants also reduce humidity and help keep temperatures down, ideal for keeping cool. Create a jungle feel with a Swiss cheese plant full of large split leaves. Or go for something more low key like a cactus or succulent. Some plants also have healing properties like aloe Vera which is calming for sunburn & skin conditions and a great natural remedy to have on hand for the summer months. 

2. Set A Routine

Having been so used to a carefully structured day, our brains can sometimes go into melt down when our routines are completely diminished, particularly when it comes to working. With added family, pet & fridge distractions working from home can prove to be unmotivating – but it doesn’t have to be:

Get dressed  

As much as working in pjs sounds idyllic, after a while it may impact on our wellbeing. By dressing up we are showing up and regardless of whether you have scheduled Zoom meetings this simple task employs a sense of duty – showing we mean business. 

Set Boundaries 

When working from home it is important to set clear, attainable boundaries for ourselves & our employers. We can often feel guilty about not constantly working when we work and live in the same place.  This unbalanced work-life can lead to stress and the inability to log off and shut down in every sense. Continue with set work hours or find new ones that suit both parties and be clear to your employer when you are not reachable. Set alarms or schedule a self care routine or social meeting to mark the end of your working day.

Keep socialising 

Work is not just a place we go to but a family, an opportunity to talk to others and share worries and laughs. Schedule in time for being social with your work colleagues and stay in the loop. Try setting up a virtual lunch break or host a quiz after work. 

3. Exercise, Nourish, Relax

It can feel overwhelming working and living from the same space, when the line is blurred it can feel like you are working without any down time. To keep fit both mentally & physically it is important that we use our time wisely and make time to look after & nourish ourselves. Read on for the last of our top 3 tips for working at home.

 Exercise

A great way to fit in some self care is to use your normal commute time to fit in an exercise like going for a walk, taking an online workout class or spending time mentally preparing for the day. If your job is pretty sedentary then getting the blood flowing before, during and after work is important to maintain a healthy body & mind. Try gentle stretching such as chair yoga, which can help relieve back pain and increase blood flow to the brain.

Eat well 

Without any judging gazes –  it’s more tempting than ever to retreat to the fridge for constant snacking. A diet rich in high sugar and highly processed foods does nothing to support brain function or a healthy body. Start the day off right with a well balanced breakfast and include lots of raw fruit & veggies into your snacking repertoire. As a rule of thumb – cook sauces & meals using fresh produce – not only will they taste better, you will know exactly what has gone into the dishes and the health benefits are increased. 

Relax 

Above all, make time to relax, whatever that looks like to you. Long hot soaks in a bubble bath, reading a good book in the sunshine, tending to your beautiful garden – find your way of relaxing body & mind to really switch off from work. Lowering stress levels not only impacts on our health and happiness but is also key to being productive in the work we do.