January 24, 2023

Work from home? How to maintain your physical and mental health 

Company culture, Productivity, Remote work

Length: 9-minute read

Quick summary: Working from home is giving Australians the flexibility they’ve been looking for. There are many great benefits to remote work, particularly around work-life balance and productivity, but remote work brings challenges too. Successfully working from home requires an added focus on mental and physical well-being, over and above shifting from a traditional office to a home office.

Top tips to work from home successfully

Those of us fortunate enough to have remote jobs have also found that while there are huge benefits to working from home, there are several challenges too.

On the one hand, working from home provides the ideal solution for businesses that can support it. It extends the organisation’s access to talent, positively impacts productivity, and provides heightened work-life balance for employees. And, of course, Australians are increasingly looking for fully remote or hybrid work.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the United States, Australians already work two days per week at home, which is higher than the survey’s average of 1.5 days across the 27 countries surveyed. The survey also found that 35 per cent of Australians said they would quit or immediately start looking for a remote job if their employers forced them to return to work full-time.

But as we’ve all experienced, working from home has both positive and negative impacts on individuals. Greater flexibility and less time in traffic are fantastic benefits, but the blurred lines between work life and home life are not so much. If you’re a part-time or full-time remote worker, we’ve outlined five simple steps to help you create a work-life balance strategy that supports your physical and mental health while boosting your productivity.

Create a work from home schedule  

While remote work provides a whole world of flexibility, it also brings potential distractions with few immediate consequences. While your commute may have changed from a few hours to just a few steps, it’s advisable to set your alarm clock at the usual time and start your day the same. Whether you normally start your day with a morning walk or a coffee, aim to preserve this ritual as much as possible to help you mentally prepare for your day.

Once you’ve finished your breakfast, have a shower and get dressed for the day. One of the most tempting things to do when   working from home is to work in your pyjamas. Don’t do it. You still need to create a separation between work and personal life; plus, you don’t want to be caught off-guard on a video call.

Likewise, work your normal hours. Make it clear to family members that your typical workday is still work time, not family time. If your kids are on holiday, set some time aside, but help them understand that your new normal is working from your home office.

When you’re working from home, and your laptop is right there, it’s easy to shoot off one more email or quickly finish that one report. If you don’t let yourself switch off, you’ll find yourself working much later and doing longer hours than you normally do. It’s important to do what you can to preserve your job in this climate while also not burning out.

Separate remote work from social media 

We’ve all done it. One distraction, and before we know it, we’ve spent 20 minutes scrolling through Instagram or watching TikToks. When you’re sitting in an office surrounded by colleagues, getting lost in social media is far less likely than when you’re sitting alone at your desk at home.

Keeping focused and productive is not the only reason to limit your time on social media. With so much going on in the world, it may be best to limit your endless scrolling. Instead, consult a credible source for a limited amount of time to get your daily news fix, and then start your workday.

If you’re unsure you can limit yourself, set forced restrictions on your phone. Apple and Android phones  have settings that let you restrict your screen time by setting daily app limits. Of course, you can dismiss these if you want to keep scrolling, but it provides a reality check of how much time you’re spending online.

Virtual catch ups are key for work from home employees

Humans are social creatures. Remote and hybrid working can quickly isolate you from your colleagues and damage company culture if virtual catchups are not part of the company mix. If your employer is doing remote working well, there will be policies in place that encourage virtual catchups and ensure that remote and in-office workers regularly touch base as well.

However, there’s no reason not to extend virtual catchups beyond company meetings. Reach out to your remote colleagues and set up a coffee date, do some collaborative work online, update your colleagues on current projects, or even have daily huddles to touch base.

Follow a ‘workout’ from home exercise routine 

In the days when we all went to the office Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, exercise routines typically involved stopping at the gym on the way to or from work. Without the daily commute, it’s easy to fall behind on things like exercising, particularly if you’re falling into the habit of working longer hours.

A great way to ensure you maintain a regular exercise routine is to schedule it in your diary. Think of it as just one more tick box in your work-from-home toolkit. You could take a walk, cycle, hit your local gym, or create home workouts. Multiple apps and YouTube clips provide guided workouts, and some gyms offer online options. You can access anything from HIIT, yoga, and strength training to Pilates or even dance classes.

Go outside, and leave your remote work behind  

We don’t mean forever, but make sure you spend at least five to ten minutes outside every day. It’s very easy to wake up, follow your morning routine, sit at your desk and forget about taking the time to move, breathe, and enjoy your surroundings. Daily commutes actually force us to get some sun and fresh air. If you’re working from home, you may need to consciously add this to the mix.

It’s also a good idea to step away from your computer to give your eyes, neck, and back a rest from continuous work online.

Embrace your work life balance strategy

Working from home is offers employees an unprecedented level of flexibility and personal agency. Still, it’s important not to think of remote work as the same work away from the traditional office. Working from home requires a higher level of personal accountability, but it also needs a clear focus on how to maintain a work-life balance. Just as enough time should still be spent on work, so must your personal needs be considered.

Get up, stretch your legs, create the flexibility that supports your home and work life and enjoy all the benefits that remote work has to offer.

If you’d like to learn what all the fuss is about and possibly even work for the world’s leading 100 per cent remote agency, head on over to our careers page to see what we are currently recruiting for.



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