Working From Home - Routines, Habits & Wellness

With our Working From Home tips, we provide tips to help you update your routine, get your workspace organised, and learn how temperature and air quality affect your productivity.

For many of us, working from home has become the new norm and will be for the foreseeable future. This has caused concern amongst employees and employers alike whose current living situations were not conceived with efficiency or productivity in mind. But there is no need to worry. There are a number of tried and tested working-from-home tricks (some simpler than others) that can help minimise distractions, train your focus and make the space around you inspiring. Not convinced? Read on.


Today, more people than ever are working from home. The adoption of flexible hours and remote roles has boomed since the turn of the millennium. In the UK alone, the Office for National Statistics reported that between 2008 and 2018 the number of employees working from home increased by 74%. That’s just over 1.54 million people who have opted for job roles that involve less commuting, and that number just keeps rising.


Also, there is no hiding the fact that Covid-19 has changed the way we work and what was once a choice, remote working, has become mandatory for most. So, whether you’re just getting settled into your new remote routine or are seasoned in the home-office environment, we’ve pulled together some of the best home office setup tips that will help you increase your comfort and improve your productivity. 


 Working From Home Tips


It all Begins with a Routine...


Start as you mean to go on. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to establish a routine that you abide by during the working week, particularly one designed to power your mornings.

Working remotely means that there is no commute, a time during which our brains can slowly rumble into action and begin zoning into the day ahead. It’s no secret that lots of those working from home cut things fine and will bounce from the bed to their emails within 5 minutes of waking up. This won’t bode well for stress levels will have a ripple effect for the rest of the day, if not the whole week.


It's worth taking at least 30 minutes to enjoy breakfast, listen to the radio, exercise or meditate before delving into the day ahead, to begin the day positively and confidently


Remote Working Routines, Habits and Wellness


This same thinking should also be applied to the rest of the day. A simple way to start building a routine is to visualise it. Get yourself a planner and figure out the basics first:

  • What time you’ll wake up
  • What time you’ll start work
  • Your breaks and how long they are 
  • What time you’ll finish

 Then, start incorporating other elements into your daily routine that will help manage daily tasks and drive productivity; checking and responding to emails during the first hour of the day, for example. Though it might seem obvious, you will see that having a remote-working routine will help you to remain focused and calm.



Take your Sleep Seriously 

There is no use in creating a routine if you don’t get a good night’s sleep.

While some people can function off 5 hours a day and some need at least 9, it’s been proven that poor sleep quality causes a variety of unpleasant side effects, like irritability, headaches, difficulty focusing and poor performance at work. Newcomers to the home-office lifestyle might experience poor sleep patterns at first. This can be due to working more hours than you should, increased intake of caffeine and not enough downtime from computer or phone screens. 


Remote Working Sleep routine


Similar to having a core morning routine, you should also set up a sleep schedule too, and look at reducing factors like caffeine and screen time that can make you restless. The Sleep Foundation recommends that the optimal number of hours to sleep for people aged 18-64 is between seven and nine hours, which, for some, might seem impossible but working towards it will unlock numerous benefits and improve wellbeing.



Organise and Prioritise

Just as it’s encouraged to establish a routine, get into the habit of organising the day ahead and setting yourself goals. When outside of the office environment, it can be a challenge to stay on top of your tasks and ultimately feel satisfied with what you’ve achieved. By having a clear set of goals for the day, you will feel much more in control of your activity, and thus you will feel more confident in yourself. 


Whether using a classic agenda or with a calendar or task management tool, take 5 - 10 minutes each morning and afternoon to take a step back and look at your workload, and track the status of the projects you have open and update their priorities.



Set Boundaries with Family and Housemates

You’ve seen the charming news reports of newscasters being interrupted by their young children whilst live on air. Even if you’re not necessarily going to be on the news, you have to be prepared for unexpected interruptions when working from home. 


If your family or housemates are not accustomed to having you at home during your normal working hours, they might be tempted to interact with you. These interactions will ultimately become distractions and it is a good idea to sit down and map out a set of boundaries (work hours, breaks, etc) that everyone agrees on. If your partner also works from home, plan when each one of you will care for children, other family members or pets.



Remote Working Avoiding Distractions


Try not to sit in places in your home that those around you associate with downtime. The ideal situation would be to have a separate, dedicated room that acts as your office, which makes it easier to signal that you are working. 

You can also invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and listen to music whilst you are working. Music has been shown to improve both productivity and cognitive performance, especially in adults. Listening to music can help people manage anxiety, become motivated and stay productive.



Dress for the Part

Though it might be tempting to roll out of bed and into ‘the office’ wearing pyjamas, by doing so you are not setting yourself up for a productive day.

Comfortable clothes are a must
when working from home but making the effort to dress each morning signifies a shift in your day and prepares you mentally to begin work. Now, this isn’t to say you wear a shirt and shoes at your desk, but opting for something that you perhaps wouldn’t wear around the house or to the store. Not only does it help set the tone for the day, but it will make you feel more prepared (also for any surprise conference calls). 


As important it is to dress for work each morning, make sure that when work is complete, you change your attire into something different to draw a mental line through the day and help you unwind. 



Don’t Forget to Leave the House

Taking time out of the workspace is a must, but getting out of the house and enjoying a chance of scenery is essential, even if it's just on your doorstep or window balcony. You might be grateful that you don’t have to withstand the daily commute to and from the office, but it presented a time each day during which you were on the move and passing through different environments. 


When working from home, it’s common that people will skip meals, work longer, talk less with friends or not leave the house. All of the above have negative effects on your mood, especially when they start to become part of your routine. 


By enjoying a change of air and scenery during a break or after work, you’ll have the opportunity to pause the mind, consolidate your thoughts and disconnect from work. 

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