If you work from home in any capacity, you’ve probably settled into a routine, developed some wanted or unwanted habits, and possibly fallen into a rut here or there. Routine can help keep a person on track, but if that comes with boredom or too much comfort, you’ll never be faced with challenges or given the opportunity to grow.
Every good routine could use a switch-up from time to time. So, what steps can you take to change your work-from-home routine effectively?
Mix Up Your Environment – If staring at the same wall makes you feel blah during the workday, try moving work to a new location. Check out coffee shops or co-working spaces for a different POV. Anything to add variety to the atmosphere around you can lend itself to better concentration or an increase in productivity. If the actual location isn’t something you want to switch, decorate your home workspace with pictures or décor you haven’t included before, or relocate the furniture you have in your WFH area.
Block Out the Day – Take a look at your schedule and make daily changes to certain blocks of time. For example, if you schedule your meetings in the morning followed by project time on Mondays, make Tuesday mornings project time, and reserve the afternoon for calls or meetings. Schedule actual breaks or downtime around your blocks of working time to help break up the day. Planning out the day provides stability and structure, with the added bonus of achieving a better work-life balance.
Stay Active – Go for a walk or take breaks to help you refocus. You might find yourself so busy during the workday that the thought of taking a break instantly generates anxiety. However, you need to hold yourself accountable and be honest about your productivity level. Taking a break doesn’t mean you need to spend a long, extended period of time away from work. It could be something as simple as taking 5 minutes to do jumping jacks, a couple of pushups, or some breathing exercises to refocus.
Get Dressed – Do you do your best work in yoga pants and an old college t-shirt? Most people who work from home are, but what about the known benefits of getting dressed more for an office setting, even if your workplace is right outside of your bedroom? You don’t need to don heels or a suit, but putting yourself together in a presentable manner has been proven to impact your mental health positively. Try switching up your attire for the week and see how you feel. The worst-case scenario is you go back to the yoga pants and college t-shirt after a week.
Change Your Work Hours – If you’re not obligated to be logged on at a specific time or day, embrace the flexibility. Do you embody the mantra, the early bird gets the worm? Then, that should translate to your workday too. Are you a night owl? Start your workday later in the day. Know yourself and the time of day you do your best work. No one can be on 100% of the time, so take advantage of your flexible work schedule and put yourself in a successful situation.
Schedule Virtual Chats / Meetings – Working from home can become isolating if you don’t have a social outlet. Merge work and socialization by scheduling weekly meetings or chats with your team or co-workers. The rendezvous should include a conversation about work goals and progress, but it’s okay to connect on life successes or changes too.
Working from home is nothing new to the workforce. Avoid falling into a rut by switching up your routine and measuring the impact on your mental health and productivity. What WFH routines work best for you? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. Also, check out 2023 Job Market Outlook.