Until very recently, working from home was something that very few of us had to experience, but the outbreak of coronavirus has certainly changed that. Stay-at-home orders dictate that we are all working from home if possible and it is highly likely that some employers will continue with this long after the pandemic is over.
Now there are benefits to working from home and some of us thrive in this situation, as it removes office distractions, allows us to spend more time with family and potentially save money that would otherwise be spent on commuting.
However, some of us struggle with this because going to work provides us with a healthy change of environment that we can (mostly) shut off from once we leave – fully shutting off can be difficult when working from home. Constantly being connected to work and technology with no shut off time can result in tech stress and eventually burn out.
There is the potential for your physical activity to take a hit too, perhaps you walk to work or usually take a lunch-time stroll to the shop that you can no longer do. Being active throughout the day is so important to both our physical and mental health, so we need to find ways to continue this even when working from home.
So here are our top tips on getting those daily steps in and avoiding tech stress:
Working from home means that your daily commute time is how long it takes you to get out of bed, make a coffee and open your laptop – gone are the days of sitting in rush hour traffic, which for many of us took up to an hour each way!
Instantly, you’ve gained potentially two hours that can be put to good use.
Its up to you whether you do this before or after work, but make sure you utilise this time to go for a walk or run to get those steps in. Getting out of the house will help break up your day, get you moving and distance you from your work environment – positively impacting your physical and mental health!
The worst thing you can do when working from home is to work from your sofa all day before simply closing your laptop and staying there for the evening.
This will make the very thin line between work and down-time even thinner, which ultimately will result in tech stress.
Make sure that you give yourself a place to work that is purely for work, whether that be a home office or just the dining table. Once you’ve finished work, this will allow you to fully remove yourself from that work environment and give yourself the break that your mind needs to stay healthy.
One of the other benefits of working from home is that you can make food as and when you feel hungry, but this often results in us not taking a real lunch break and simply eating as we work.
Lunch breaks are more than just a time to eat though, stepping away from that screen will provide a much needed break for your mind and actually increase your productivity later in the day.
Use this time to close your laptop and go for a walk around the block or any other activities that get you moving!
This might sound counter-intuitive, but try to make things as awkward as possible while working from home, forcing you to get up more often.
For example, rather than taking a pint glass of water to your desk, only make drinks in small glasses so you have to get up and make another more often. Yes you’re not going to clock up massive amounts of steps doing this but they will all accumulate!
Similar to the above advice, but you should be getting up every hour even if you don’t have anything specific to do!
When working in an office you will likely be taking small breaks without even realising by spending a couple of minutes talking to your colleagues here and there.
This type of distraction is not there when working from home which initially seems great but these small breaks are so important for avoiding tech stress.
So make sure you’re getting up every hour just to stroll around your house, accumulating some extra steps and reducing that screen time.
While we don’t advise this if you’re on a video call (as I’m sure your colleagues will not appreciate it), if you’re having a good old-fashioned phone call then take the opportunity to get up from your desk and pace around your house.
As mentioned earlier, all these little steps add up!
One of the most effective ways of increasing motivation is to add an element of competition.
Grab a few friends and see who can clock the most steps every week – this also adds accountability and provides an extra incentive to make the little changes we’ve spoken about earlier.
Spending 9 hours of your day glued to your laptop screen only to follow this with an evening of staring at your phone or TV is not going to do your mind any favours.
Spending so much time engrossed in technology will likely cause tech stress and while we know that you’re likely to spend most of your down-time surrounded by technology, try to incorporate 60 – 90 minutes of your evening completely away from screens.
This can be in the form of reading, physical activity or simply spending time with loved ones, but do this with your phone far out of reach, preferably in a different room. This will help you get that detachment from the technological world that we all need.
Working from home is such a strange situation that many of us will not have encountered before and there certainly appears to be some positives and drawbacks with it.
The most important thing to note is that you have gained a little extra time each day that you didn’t have before, so utilise this time to be more active and get those steps in!
Additionally, remember that even though you’re working from home and it might be easy to work throughout the day and the evening, treat it as a normal working day and give yourself time to shut off in the evening to avoid stress and eventual burnout.