73% of workers put in more effort when working from home, according to a 2017 study by Cardiff University. However, 44% of those surveyed also said that they struggle to unwind and relax after a day of working remotely.
Whether you’re new to working remotely or have been at it for some time, many remote workers share the same issues. The State of Remote Work 2018 Report by Buffer stated that remote workers might struggle with loneliness, communicating and collaborating with coworkers, and distractions at home.
So, what are some ways to make adjustments, and how can employees practice the right amount of self-care throughout the workday and beyond?
Here are 7 suggestions on ways to relax and unwind, even during the workday.
Working from home doesn’t mean that you have to go full-force every minute of every day. Take time for breaks, including making yourself a cup of coffee and taking time to eat lunch away from your desk. Set aside a little time to meditate if it helps. It’s all right to take a few moments to refresh yourself.
If you need assistance with disciplining yourself to take a break, there are many ways your mobile device or computer can help you. One example is the Break Timer Chrome add-on that allows you to customize the length of your break and work sessions. You can also set the beginning and end of the workday with Break Timer, and it will alert you when you’re supposed to be “off the clock”.
Complete a chore
Between work tasks, there’s no reason you can’t go do your laundry, check your mail, pay a bill, or even do some spring cleaning. If something is nagging at your mind, take care of it — so long as it’s not interfering with your job performance.
Fuel with food
It takes energy to get through the workday, and you need the proper fuel to propel you forward. Take time to enjoy your lunch or a snack break away from the computer. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated throughout the day, and if you need some hydration accountability, there are many apps to help. One popular example is the Aloe Bud self-care app that sends helpful push notifications on when to refill your water from yourself, to yourself
Good afternoon! 💧 We are in need of some extra water today in addition to ☀️👒💚. pic.twitter.com/rBelsIZWg2
— Aloe Bud ♡ (@aloebud) March 31, 2020
Some people prefer working out first thing in the morning, and others when they’re done with work for the day. A few will even take time out from the workday to do it. A study that appeared in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that workers who exercised during working hours were more productive, managed their time better, and felt more satisfaction with their work.
It’s important to stay fit, whether you prefer lifting, karate, yoga, tai chi, or even hiking, and biking. If you have a dog, take a few minutes to walk them and clear your head during the day. Keeping healthy allows you to be at your best for your work and the rest of your life.
Keep in touch with coworkers, friends, and family
Working from home doesn’t have to make you a hermit. You might have family members around to have a quick chat with, and it’s not a sin to glance at your social media accounts and personal email during break times – especially if you set your status on your computer as “away” for a few minutes to check in with your friends or family.
As for your coworkers, while you may not be physically near them, you’re not isolated from them. You can still reach each other through Slack and other instant messaging services, and interact over a video call. According to an Owl Labs study, “96% of respondents agree that video conferencing is effective for improving the connectedness of remote team members.”
Remember: it’s your place
Make yourself comfortable. Sit (or stand) anywhere in the house you feel like. Go outside on the porch to work if the weather is nice. Play your favorite music to boost productivity. Decorate your workspace with things that bring you joy to look at throughout the day: paintings, photographs, or even some house plants.
Call it a day
You don’t have to think about your work 24/7. When you call it a day, it’s okay to shut off the computer. By shutting off your computer, you can flip a switch in your mind to relax. Throughout the day even, it’s ok to leave your home office and computer behind to clear your head (so long as you come back). You can also leave some things for tomorrow.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the flexibility that working from home offers. Invest the time to not only fill your workday with important work priorities, but with time for yourself to unwind.