WFH is awesome. No dreadful commutes, cosy PJs, more family face-time. What’s not to love? But, in the new normal, it’s easy to develop bad WFH habits without even realising.
You might find yourself struggling to unplug. Ending your workday is harder. And despite working what seems like the entire day, you might still end up feeling unproductive.
Here are 6 bad WFH habits hindering your growth and their simple, not so drastic, solutions.
1. Reduced personal physical space
There’s no doubt that in these unprecedented times family is indeed a blessing. But let’s just be honest. We aren’t used to this much togetherness. Our work-life boundaries have been erased.
When working from home, we often sacrifice self-care over the needs of others. However, studies show that daily solitude improves the creative process, reduces stress and the risk of burnout both emotionally and physically1,2.
Take your time finding an activity that’s just yours. Such as:
- Calming physical activity
Exercise/meditate in solitude, preferably early in the morning when everyone is asleep.
- Brain food
Perhaps read a book while being tucked away in a silent corner of the house.
- Self-confidence booster
Like a one-person project that does not involve screens.
2. Being stuck in a time loop
Are your days something like this -> Wake up, throw on a presentable shirt, start work, Zoom meetings, lunch, work, eat junk, Netflix, and finally, collapse?
There’s value in routine. No doubt. But WFH burnout is inevitable.
Monotony can decrease productivity, increase distraction and stress levels3. It makes sense because, after all, variety is the spice of life.
Here are some ideas to add freshness to your WFH routine:
- Change your workspace
Get some work done in the garden or any other room. It will provide you with a change of scenery. It will also give you a break from being glued to your desk.
- Try switching up your workdays
The traditional “Five days on, two days off” routine at times gets dull. If possible, consider working on Saturdays and taking Wednesdays off.
- Level up your dressing game
Try on some trendy casual outfits. How about replacing Mondays with Fancy Mondays?
- Learn something new
Pick one thing. The easiest one. And begin doing it. It will stimulate your mind and keep you refreshed.
- Plan surprises
Plan out small things like cooking a new dish or a trip to the ice-cream store and break the monotony.
3. Do you know the right way to nap?
We get your drive to do as much as possible and afternoon naps may make you feel guilty- as if you are slacking off or something.
But you can put your mind at ease. According to research, naps improve memory, cognitive function and increase productivity4,5.
But you need to catch your Zs the right way. Here are some tips on effective napping:
- Avoid napping in bed
A dark, quiet room with a couch is ideal for a rejuvenating power nap.
- Napping after lunch is ideal
If you nap too late, it’ll be difficult for you to fall asleep at night.
- Do not nap for more than 20 minutes
According to NASA, the ideal nap duration is 26 minutes. To avoid oversleeping, set an alarm.
4. Heavier meals
According to a study, 45% of people snacked more than usual when working from home6. This habit of overeating can harm your mental health, weight, and productivity7.
So for your long-term well-being (and waistline) here are some tips to get you on track:
- Plan and prepare healthy meals
It will keep you from mindlessly grabbing whatever you can find.
- No screens during mealtimes
It will save you from overeating.
- Protein-rich breakfasts are an underrated hack
Proteins improve mental performance and help in weight loss8. They also make you feel fuller for a longer period.
- Water, water, water
Dehydration affects brain performance9. Amid work, it’s easy to forget to drink water. Keep some water at your work table.
- Limit your caffeine intake
Too much is known to cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues, and even fatigue10.
Here’s a list of healthy snacks that you can binge on without feeling guilty about it.
5. Conversing with people only via screens
Do you often find yourself in no mood to entertain friends or family after work?
The fatigue is because you are emotionally exhausted. Video conferencing is the primary culprit for several reasons.
According to a study, lack of eye contact makes people feel they are not heard. It increases cognitive effort and causes frustration11.
Moreover, virtual meetings restrict mobility. Research suggests that when people are moving, they perform better cognitively12.
There are several ways to limit video call fatigue, such as:
- Reduce the mental load arising from being self-conscious
Turn off the feature where you can see yourself during calls. This can be done by right-clicking on your photo.
- A standing desk with a webcam placed further away might help
Place an external camera farther away from the screen so you can pace and doodle in virtual meetings, just like in real ones.
- Breakaway from the screen after every video call
Schedule short breaks away from the computer and between video calls. If you can, leave a gap of 10-minutes between successive calls. Multiple video calls in a row are tiring.
6. Soaring screen time
You’re possibly working more at home than you would at your office. There aren’t any impromptu breaks like a trip to the communal kitchen or watercooler chats. Everything from collaboration to socializing happens in the virtual space.
According to research, spending six hours or more per day watching screens increases the risk of depression, can cause fatigue or discomfort in your eyes, and lead to poor cognitive performance13,14.
To limit your screen time, you don’t need drastic changes. Just try these simple tricks.
- Turn off notifications
Take charge over when you would like to be notified. Every time a new notification comes in, you end up looking at your phone for no good reason.
- Try the 20-20-20 rule
It reduces eye strain. Basically, take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Use blue light filters
Reduce the amount of blue light displayed on your screen. This will reduce eye strain and your eyes won’t feel tired out and dry15.
- Physical stationary
It might sound old-fashioned but it can save your eyes from discomfort. Use real paper to jot down your notes.
Improve your work performance with health advice personalised to you
It’s clear that your health has a direct and significant impact on your work performance.
Times have changed, and so should the ways through which you trace and take care of your health. With the ElevateMe health app, you’ll get a completely personalised action plan with tasks and long-term tips that will improve your productivity and overall health.
We start by doing a simple health blood test. Our health algorithm then combines your blood test results with your lifestyle survey and provides an overall score of your health. Based on your test results, it provides you with the best action plan with personalised advice to help you improve your health.