We’ve done our research here at Removify to help our staff stay productive and comfortable while we navigate this new norm – so we thought we’d share what we’ve learned and give you some tips on how to work from home like a pro.
Natural Daylight Is Critical
Your body regulates energy and sleep largely based off natural light. It is very important and helpful to make sure that you get some natural light in through your eyes, and on your skin, first thing in the morning. That natural blue light is basically what tells your body “wake up” but also “be awake around this time tomorrow”.
Normally you would get this on your commute to work, because even 5-10 minutes walking to/from a train station is enough. Whereas if you find yourself totally cooped up, rolling out of bed, to bathroom, to kitchen, to your work desk, without ever getting natural blue light in through your eyes, your circadian rhythm will be negatively affected and you’ll start finding it harder to sleep at night, you’ll be groggier in the morning and you’ll have less energy during the day.
Tip: Sit in front of your best window for breakfast, stare out the window for a bit planning your day, anything to get natural light into your eyes early in your day. If you can’t do that, there are free apps you can get which simulate natural light, it’s the next best thing. Search for “blue energy light” or similar (which means turn OFF your blue light filter when using it. This is the one time you DO want the blue light.)
Your Morning Routine
Many of you know this one already, but it’s important to for separating “work” from “play” or “relaxing time”. Get out of the habit of rolling out of bed and plonking down to work. “Get ready for work” in as close to the same way you would if you were coming into the office, including the way you dress. If you start sloppy, you’ll stay sloppy! Don’t be surprised if you feel in a better “work mode” if you dress more closely to what you wear to the office. The schedule is also important for regulating your energy, again, you need to set the habits of when you’re working and when you’re not. This will be especially helpful for those of you who DON’T have a totally dedicated office at home that feels like a different place.
Tip: Get up for work at your usual time and the time you’d normally spend on commuting to make yourself breakfast and get ready for the day (this is also a great time to chuck in some exercise!)
If you’re not careful, you’ll get to the end of the day and discover you’ve taken maybe a few hundred steps for the day, when it would normally be thousands. This will slowly kill your energy, tighten your muscles, add weight, and a million other negative impacts. At a minimum one of the best ways to be more active is to drink a lot of water. Fill up a big jug and make a habit of drinking it – for example, every time you’re on a Slack (or equivalent) video chat, or even set an alarm every hour if you have to. If you add the Slack app to your phone, every time you’re on a work call, stand up and walk around while you chat. Find habits that make you move.
Tip: If any of you want to take it a step further, adding accountability is what tends to keep you exercising. For example, start an office challenge, whoever opts in can pick a challenge that they set themselves to do once a day – like maximum push-ups or squats or sit-ups (or all of the above). You can even create a Slack channel #exercise-accountability and at a set time every day you post your scores.
You’ve probably all now discovered that uh-oh, I have to think a bit more about what I’m going to eat for EVERY meal now, especially if you don’t have easy options around your house. Like exercise, it’s critical to your energy and state of mind.
- Buying a lot of healthy snacks helps a lot (don’t buy junk food or you’ll eat it!!! The choice about eating bad food or good food is made when shopping, not when opening the pantry or fridge)
- Cook bigger dinners so that you can have it for lunch.
- Of course, Uber Eats now and then to mix things up.
- Consider the likes of My Muscle Chef to let them take care of a lot of meals
- Start an office cook-off where you post photos of your best chef moments.
Alter Your Environment
The point on this one is that a very common cause of disorders like insomnia is that it can be influenced by an environment that remains so constant that the mind and body gets confused as to what “mode” it should be in. For all of you who are working from your bedrooms or in a studio – it’s really important to try and find a way to get out. You should be getting out of your home and going for a short walk on your breaks. This is also a saviour for your posture (check out some of our teams #wfh set ups below!).
If you live in a household where multiple people are working from home, try to buddy-up in their work space one day out of the week. The added benefit to this is that you can have some banter and chatter throughout the day so you don’t feel as isolated. if you don’t have that, try a virtual buddy-up over Skype of Whatsapp.
Tip: Even if it is temporary, don’t under estimate the power of a good setup. A good chair (or standing desk) that’s ergonomically fitting will make your working from home life so much easier. Don’t get into the habit of predominantly working from your couch or kitchen bench.
Music & Background Noise
Some people like to work in silence most of the time but other find it productive to have general background noise. You an search for ambient background music on Youtube or head outside into your backyard to enjoy the sounds outside (although right now in Australia the only sounds we’re enjoying are rain sounds!)
Tip: Check out Coffitivity which has different options for ambient noise that makes you feel like you’re in a café, but without it being distracting: https://coffitivity.com/