How to create a healthy work-from-home environment
Working from home is rewarding in so many ways. But how can you make sure you stay healthy in mind and body while doing it?
11 November
7 min read

Done right, working from home should give you more time for all of the important things: exercise, sleep, healthy eating, and time spent with the people you care about.

But mismanaged, the remote work lifestyle could leave you feeling isolated (no coffee breaks with colleagues or water cooler gossip) and with a poorly arranged workspace to boot.

As pioneers of the remote working lifestyle, we know how to get it right.

How to create a healthy work-from-home environment

Working from home is massively rewarding, but only if you know how to approach it. So, to help you make the most of your home-working environment, we put together a little guide.

Sleep

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is vital to your mental and physical health. Gone are the days of all-nighters and coffee-fuelled mornings. You owe it to your body to get enough rest and to stick to a regular sleep schedule.

⏰ Fix your sleep schedule by setting yourself designated bedtimes and daily alarms. 

Whether you’re working from bed or watching another episode of Battlestar Galactica, working from home alters your sleep schedule. Sticking to the same sleeping hours improves your sleep quality. And if you’ve slept well, you’ll be more productive.

Pro-tip: Consider a 20-minute power nap if you can fit it in.

Break

Unlike being in an office, where clock-watching is everyone’s favourite hobby, it’s easy to lose track of time when working at home. As many of us discovered during the pandemic, life can become one big monotonous blur. This is why it’s so vital you take breaks.

🗓️ Schedule designated break times throughout the day — outside of lunch. 

Taking breaks boosts your energy levels and focus. It helps free your mind and overcome blocks that can arise from focusing on one thing for too long. It’s also good for your body. Maybe your eyes are getting tired, you need to stretch, or perhaps you’re thirstier or hungrier than you realised. Just take a breather, then come back to it.

Schedule

Traditional workdays are scheduled around a typical formula. Home, commute, work, lunch, work, commute, home. When you’re working from home, however, the lines blur and can vanish altogether. You have to be responsible for managing your own time. And for that, it helps to structure your days.

📅 Create a daily schedule consisting of work hours, lunch, and breaks (including time spent outdoors). And stick to it.

Work can creep up on you. Before you realise what you’re doing, you’ve checked your inbox and are responding to work messages in your downtime. Before you know it, you’re frazzled, stressed and unproductive. Creating a schedule, and being disciplined about following it, helps you to manage your time. It helps you remember to take exercise breaks, podcast breaks (while strolling in the fresh air), and to actually eat lunch.

Eat

Forget your lunch again? You’re not alone. A survey by Liberty Games concluded that 41% of British people skip lunch when working from home. This is a problem. Skipping lunch makes it easier to overeat once you realize how hungry you are, even leading to career burnout.

🥪 Prepare your meals in advance. Or, if you can’t find time for that, at least put a little thought into quick and healthy options you can whip together on your lunch break.

Putting aside an hour in the middle of the day is good for you. Eating also re-energizes you, helping you to overcome inevitable concentration lapses and afternoon slumps. You can even set aside time to snack, but keep it to fruit, nuts, and vegetables.

Exercise

Without a daily commute, there’s more time for exercise. Fact. But if you slip into a work-work-work mind-frame, you probably won’t take advantage of the opportunity. Aside from keeping you healthy in body, exercise is medically proven to improve your mood.

🏃 Set timers to get up and walk around a couple of minutes every hour. And set aside bigger blocks of time to do some form of exercise you really enjoy (be it yoga in the living room, Tai Chi in the park, or Jiu-Jitsu at the local dojo).

Taking regular brisk walks can boost your mental and physical health. Whether you’re grabbing coffee or taking your dog for a walk, getting out there helps. Try setting timers to remind you to move around every hour — and don’t forget to stretch.

When you work from home, you miss out on the movement of a daily commute. Recent polling revealed that over the pandemic, public health took hits from WFH life, with 46% taking less exercise. Make sure you use remote working as an opportunity to make more time to move, not less.

Vacation vacation

Whether you’re working in the office or from home, vacation days disappear. Maybe you “saved them up” for a rainy day, or maybe you forgot to schedule them in. Just make sure you take them. They’re also necessary for your mental health. So, dust off the atlas and have some fun thinking up where to go.

🏖️ Use your vacation days. They’re there for a reason.

Clock out

We’re always connected. And when working from home, it’s common to not switch off.

As a result, it’s easy to “just” check your email or “just” respond to a message. A survey by HRM Guide found that 93% of people continue to work after hours, averaging three hours and 31 minutes each week doing this. That adds up to an extra 23 working days a year.

Although this survey was conducted in 2012, we find it pretty hard to believe people are less distracted by digital technology in 2021.

🕒 Don’t work after hours. Don’t touch your work email or communication apps unless you’re on the clock.

Flexible working is an incredible part of the modern era. But it’s also dangerous if you don’t monitor your hours. Working too much can lead to burnout. The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study revealing that, since the pandemic made WFH “the norm”, workdays have become, on average, 48 minutes longer.

Ready to work?

We love remote work.

We love it for its freedom, its possibilities, and the opportunities it provides people all over the world. But if you’re not taking care of yourself while working from home, you’re not making the most of it.

We care about your well-being and how you feel.

We want you to remember to eat well and sleep well, to exercise and to take deep lungfuls of fresh air. Ironically, some of the best things about working from home are also those most easily forgotten once you start.

Done right, remote work can open up a whole world of freedom. A world in which you’re neither tethered to an office or stuck on crowded commutes.

Use your imagination. Make a plan. And stick to it.

We want you to have a remote work lifestyle that empowers and inspires you.

For that, it has to work for you.

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