How to stay sane while working remotely
Top tips for working from home to keep you healthy, happy and motivated
By Melissa on March 19, 2020
There are many people who choose to work from home on occasion. Other times, everyone, including those who aren’t used to working remotely, are strongly encouraged (or obliged) to work from home. In these cases, even those who’ve occasionally worked from home could experience a startling new shift due to prolonged periods inside. That’s why we’re sharing some essential work-from-home tips to help you keep cool if stuck indoors.
Create your space
Find a comfortable place in your home that’ll function as your exclusive workspace. Remember that you’ll want to keep your relaxation spaces and “work” space separate. This means avoid your bed, bedroom and sofa, if possible. Ideally, you’ll have a chair and desk (or a kitchen or dining room table will do). If feasible, make this space somewhere near a window or balcony. While you may be stuck inside, it’s always nice and healthy to get some natural light streaming through. It can also help keep you alert and boost your overall mood too!
I bought a scented candle, some nice plants and flowers to make my workspace cozier and prettier.
Our Paralegal Ella has found another cool way to spruce up her workspace while working remotely. “I bought a scented candle, some nice plants and flowers to make my workspace cozier and prettier”, she said. “It makes a difference for me and just makes things more positive. Plus plants are good for the air quality in your home”!
If you’re working from home with a partner or spouse, you may also want to set a designated “meeting” room. This way, you’ll each have somewhere private to go when you need to take or make calls without disrupting the other.
Finally, before you settle in, make sure you have all the tools you need in your area to be as productive as possible throughout your day.
Keep it clean
You may feel more comfortable leaving dirty coffee mugs around your workspace now that you’re at home, and there are no colleagues around to judge you. As tempting as it may be, try not to do so. Keep your workspace at home as tidy as possible. Having too much clutter around your new space will only distract you and make you less productive. It can even have an impact on your ability to process information.
Follow a routine
It’s important to have a set routine when working remotely. While it may be tempting to roll out of bed, grab your laptop and start working, having a routine in the morning will help give your day some normality. Wake up on time, make your bed, shower, get dressed (remember you’ll still want to look presentable for video calls), eat a healthy breakfast and then get started with your workday. This will help your days go a lot smoother.
If you have children or a partner at home, communicate your working hours and areas, so they know when not to disturb you and which areas of the house to avoid. To help you stay focused and avoid any noisy distractions, you may want to work with some earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. Boundaries can also be ones you set with yourself. Our QA Chapter Lead Leonel says: “Avoid watching news updates all day to keep you positive and sane. Instead, pick certain times of the day where you check in and then... turn off”!
Stay in touch (virtually)
Working from home can quickly make you feel out of touch with colleagues and totally isolated. Therefore, take advantage of tools like Slack, Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts and so on. Hop on a quick call (or better yet, a video call) with a coworker if you need some human connection (figuratively speaking, of course).
Our Lead Market Development Manager, Estefania, also reminds us to be understanding when it comes to this new form of communication with our colleagues. “We need to have some patience with the wifi connection”, she explains. “In Spain, for example, it’s completely saturated, so video calls don’t always work properly”. So if someone’s camera freezes or their microphone isn’t working properly, just laugh it off! As frustrating as it may be sometimes, remember that your team is doing their best.
Just like when working in the office, it’s good to take breaks from your workspace. Get up, walk around, stretch your legs and do something else that isn’t work-related for 5–15 minutes.
My favourite break activity is cleaning up. Every time I feel I need five minutes away from my laptop, I go and put a wash on or do the dishes.
Our Content and Community Manager Karolina shares her tip for taking breaks. “My favourite break activity is cleaning up. Every time I feel I need five minutes away from my laptop, I go and put a wash on or do the dishes”, she said. “That turns my mind completely off, and I can come back to work fully charged. Plus, once I’m done working, I don’t have to do the cleaning anymore”!
Make sure you take time for lunch as well. Recruiter Gaili advises: “Block your lunchtime on your calendar — this way, your coworkers will know not to schedule any meetings with you during this hour”.
You’ll also want to eat foods to boost your immune system. Our Paid Media Specialist Puneet suggests: “Make yourself a nice home-cooked meal - not just microwave meals”. Don’t forget to stay hydrated too and drink plenty of water!
Overworking is the fastest way to drive yourself crazy, especially when working from home. It’s easy to lose track of time when working remotely. Set alarms and timers, so you know when to sign off and shut off.
Our Head of Design Joe shares his trick for helping his brain make the switch from “work” to “home” life.
“I change into pyjamas in the evening, which helps me feel like I’m in ‘home’ mode”.
Our Credit Product Analyst Jagoda proposes finding a new pastime to help you unwind once you’ve finished work for the day. “Find a hobby you enjoy to help you relax, such as yoga, reading, knitting, playing cards or a board game”.
Many of us already live a rather sedentary lifestyle — and working remotely promotes this even more so. Working from home means missing out on your daily commute to work and cuts into the little walking you may do as you head into the office, bus stop or tube station. That’s why it’s even more important to include some physical activity during your days working remotely. And don’t think you need a full-scale gym either to break a sweat at home!
Our Customer Support Agent Selman has found a great hack for keeping active: “I like to wake up a bit earlier and do some exercise. It helps keep me strong and motivated”!
2 April update: We've asked Monese parents how they're coping with working from home with kids – check out the Twitter thread here.
How are you keeping sane while working from home? What advice do you have to share with our community? If you think you’ve mastered the art of remote work, we’d love to hear your top tips! Share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via email at email@example.com.