While working from home may sound appealing, it can have its down sides when it comes to your general wellbeing – research has shown that work can more easily cut into your personal time, which may in turn affect your mental health as well as your productivity. Here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls and stay healthy and productive when working from home.
1. Dress the part
Believe it or not, what you wear can have an impact on your work. Some experts believe you adopt the characteristics associated with what you’re wearing – a phenomenon known as enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes. One 2012 study found that people who thought they were wearing a white coat belonging to a doctor saw their ability to pay attention increase sharply, where as those wearing the same white coat who thought it belonged to a painter, weren’t as attentive. So, instead of staying in your pyjamas all day, put on an outfit you’d wear to the office and increase your potential.
2. Create your own space
Mixing home and workspace can interfere with your ability to relax later on and you risk creating mental associations that keep your mind occupied with professional obligations, even during off-hours. To help, create a space that is for work purposes only. Even if you live in a small studio, set up a desk and chair and keep your work separate.
3. Stick a schedule
A solid timetable will benefit both your mental health and the quality of your work. Often when you leave the office your work is done for the day, and you go home and relax. Try to instill the same idea when working from home – don’t be tempted to work around the clock to accommodate all client requests.
4. Create your own community
The lack of social stimulation is one of the pitfalls of working from home. As a small business owner or freelancer, you may feel isolated at times with no support structure. Maintain social connections, even in the absence of co-workers. Go out to client meetings rather than doing them on the phone, or join an online virtual community. Maintaining healthy social connections will help improve your overall wellbeing and help you stay motivated.
Following these simple steps will set you on the track to ensuring you protect your mental health and general wellbeing when working from home.