Let’s face it 2020 has been a crazy year to say the least, and more of us are working from home now than ever. The company I work for sent us home in March, and like most people we didn’t have much time to prepare ourselves for this “new normal”. Over these past several months I have learned a lot about how to stay engaged while working from home which has supported me with actually really enjoying it! Therefore, I thought I would share these tips with you in hopes that you will find them valuable as well!
Tips for staying engaged working from home:
Keep a journal at your desk: I often journal what I’m grateful for each morning (aka having a job); positive things that happen during my work day; and my motivation or purpose behind my work. Having this at my desk to reflect on really helps with keeping me engaged.
Enhance your work place: Find an area of the house that you feel comfortable working at. For example: I placed my desk in our living room right in front of our big picture wall. I chose this area because it has the most natural light in the house with all of the windows, and it’s comforting to be able to look up at the picture wall and see all of my loved ones and to reflect on the fun memories. I also like to decorate my workspace and keep it very organized. I usually have succulents on my desk, however now I have Christmas garland. This just makes it that much more enjoyable being at my desk!
Do something for yourself before you start your work day: I start off my morning by walking my puppy; exercising for an hour; showering and getting ready; reading my daily devotional called “The Jesus Book”; and having my coffee, green smoothie bowl, and ACV detox water. Having this “me time” before work really helps me to get in the right mindset before I start my busy work day.
Do an hourly challenge: This helps to break up the work day. I personally do an hourly exercise challenge where I do a quick 1-3 minute exercise move each hour such as: planks; squats; push ups; etc. Some other ideas you could do hourly include: deep breathing; meditation; stepping away from your desk even just for a minute; a quick stretching break; journaling; or cuddling/playing with your pet (aka my favorite).
Move/stand more: Research shows that moving more and being less sedentary supports our physical and emotional health. If you have a desk job consider looking into a stand up desk. I bought mine off Amazon and I absolutely love it! I also keep resistance bands; light weights; and a foam roller by my desk. If you are not interested in a stand up desk consider setting alarms to support you with getting up more often even if it’s for a quick stretch. If you are interested here is the link to the affordable stand up desk I have: https://www.amazon.com/Stand-Steady-Joy-Desk-Multifunctional/dp/B07H9HJRG9/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=modern+glass+stand+steady+joy+desk&qid=1606749819&s=office-products&sr=1-4
Take advantage of your breaks: I try to go on at least 2-3 20 minute walking breaks each work day. This helps to get some fresh air; a screen break; and more movement. However, I encourage you to use this time to do something that you enjoy and that will support your emotional health. If you are one that finds it hard to take breaks at work consider scheduling them like you would a meeting on your calendar even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. This will give you a little "me time" while not taking up too much time, and the mental break may even increase your productivity.
Connect with your colleagues: This can support with your social and emotional well-being. Some examples Include: plan a fun team meeting each month; do Motivation Monday and Fun Friday team chats; check in to see how your teammates are doing; affirm your colleagues; chat with your friends at work during your breaks; do virtual happy hours; do fun challenges such as a virtual ugly Christmas sweater competition; have more one on one time with your team or manager; etc.
Separate work and home life: This can be easier said than done with working from home, however it can really support your emotional well-being and keep you more engaged. Consider trying to log off on time, and do something for yourself. For example: I like to go on a long walk after work to get out of the house; have a happy hour on the porch with Josh (my fiancé); or take a hot bubble bath. Then we like to make a healthy and delicious dinner and wind down the night by watching a movie while cuddling with our puppy.
Stick to your routine: I prep my breakfast, lunch, and healthy snacks the night before; go to bed and wake up at the same time; and try to do take my breaks around the same time so I can stick to my routine. This helps fuel my mind and body to take on the busy work day, and it reduces stress because I'm not in a time crunch in the morning or miss lunchtime.
Work on professional development: Curiosity, learning, and challenging ourselves can really be helpful for our engagement. Consider reaching out to a leader to see what you can do to grow your professional development, or think of skills you want to further develop or topics you want to learn more on, and do some research/ training on them. For example this blog is a form of professional development for me. I feel that I have learned a lot around overall wellness at my job, and now I’m growing my writing and creativity skills more through this, and hopefully supporting others while I’m doing it!