With the advancement of technology and more organisations offering flexible working arrangements, telecommuting has become the norm among many professionals today. Research from the TUC (Trades Union Congress) estimated that the number of people working remotely in the UK increased by a fifth between 2006 and 2016, and now stands at approximately 1.5 million.
While there are many benefits of working from home – from reduced commuting costs to a better work-life balance – it can also pose challenges. Your home is full of distractions and many home-based workers report feeling lonely due to a lack of human contact.
So, how can you overcome these challenges and make telecommuting work for you? Here are a few tips for staying motivated and healthy as a remote worker.
Create a space that inspires you
With the flexibility to work from any given location, it can be tempting to kick back in bed or work while lounging on the sofa. However, your productivity is likely to suffer as a result, and bad posture can also lead to musculoskeletal problems.
By creating a dedicated workspace in your home and surrounding yourself with things that inspire you, you can free yourself of distractions and stay focused. This needn’t be an entire room if you’re short on space; it could be as simple as a desk in the corner of your kitchen or an unused space in the hall.
Equip your workspace with efficient storage to avoid clutter and, most importantly, a comfortable desk chair that offers good support to encourage healthy posture.
Interior designer Cathy Phillips advises that, “having everything in its place and furniture arranged in a pleasing and practical way will make for a calming environment. If you can’t find what you need, or you can’t reach that all-important file, your mood is bound to be affected.”
Keep work and home life separate
It’s easy for the boundaries between business and home life to become blurred when you work from home. Daily chores can creep into the working day, and it can be difficult to ‘switch off’ after hours.
To maintain a work-life-balance, set yourself a routine that will separate the two areas of your life. Get up at the same time each morning and do your best to work similar hours throughout the week so you know when to call it a day and give yourself time to relax.
Look after your mental health
Working from home can be isolating without the company of colleagues that being in an office offers. Over time, this can lead to feelings of loneliness and become detrimental to your mental wellbeing.
Occupational psychologist Gail Kinman says that the key to good mental health is to, “avoid being ‘always on’, as downtime is essential for mental and physical health and effectiveness at work. Make sure you schedule in breaks and have human contact.”
Look after your emotional wellbeing by setting aside time to catch up with friends and family, whether it be for a quick coffee at a local café, a bite to eat on their lunch break or even just a chat on the phone.
Incorporating some sort of exercise into your routine is also essential for good health, particularly if you lead a sedentary desk lifestyle. Head out for a brisk walk each day and reap the benefits of a dose of fresh air. Plus, simply getting out of the house can do wonders for your productivity and creativity.
On top of these considerations, it’s essential to identify what works for you personally and to understand what environment you work best in. Having done so, you can create a workspace that helps you thrive. For more tips on creating your very own home office heaven, check out the full article by Hiscox.