I have been working from home since 2011, so I am lucky to have some practice. I empathize with everyone who has spent the past two years figuring out the nuances of working from home, stay at home orders, the stress from a global pandemic, caring for your families and potentially home schooling the kids! Are there really enough hours in the day?
We all want to stay healthy and part of that will be creating a balance between work and our personal life. It is difficult not having our accountability partners, our co-workers who give us that nudge and motivation to get up and take a walk, eat lunch or even walk to a meeting together and I know we are missing all of the teachers and the schedules and guidance they once provided.
From your physical to mental health, here are six things you can do to make sure you are maintaining a healthy balance while working from home:
My new normal means waking up before the rest of my household to enjoy a quiet moment with coffee and to check my schedule to ensure I don’t forget meetings, deadlines, or which school assignments my daughters need to complete. This keeps me from feeling overwhelmed and gives me a list to check off so I can tangibly see what we have accomplished during the day and plan for the week. (Don’t forget to account for the fun tasks too. There is a “Movie night: Watch Encanto” penciled in on most of my Friday evenings!)
Schedule certain tasks into your calendar and set reminders, this will help keep you on track and keep you from extending on any one particular item. Try to separate work hours from personal time or school drop offs or homeschooling. Set expectations with your family about your working hours and create a fun sign or indicator for your times when you are not to be disturbed. A friend of mine wears a red feather boa when she needs her kids to know she is unavailable.
If your spouse is also working from home- have plan of attack on who will handle what. My husband and I touch base about important meetings, appointments, and travel dates weekly to ensure we don’t have any major conflicts.
When you are working from home, it can be hard to remember to get up and stretch! Use your calendar to schedule your lunch, as well as periodic reminders to get up and move. Consider a 30-minute picnic lunch followed by a 30-minute family walk or a quick workout session. Even if you just walk outside to grab the mail, remind yourself to stretch and get some sun and fresh air.
Don’t work where you do anything else in the home. You should designate a separate work area that is just for you and work. Even if you don’t have the space for an office, set up a small desk and chair that can keep your professional life separate from your work life. Working from bed should be limited as it will eventually interfere with your down time.
Don’t work in your pajamas and bathrobe! It’s a good idea to be dressed in clothes appropriate for a surprise video conference call. How you look can start to affect how you feel, therefore disrupting productivity and overall mood.
Try to keep fresh fruits and vegetables handy (for you and so the kids in the house can self-serve). You will be more likely to choose a healthy snack if they are prepped and ready (instead of opting for a bag of chips). I also found it helps to set dedicated snack and mealtimes. This way, you don’t spend unnecessary time in the kitchen accommodating lots of snack breaks.
We live in a social world and working from home, in conjunction with social distancing, can make many of us feel disconnected from our co-workers or just the working world in general. It takes more effort to stay connected with co-workers, friends and loved ones when meeting in person isn’t an option. Consider scheduling lunch at the same time as a co-worker and friend and chat over Facetime or Zoom, it may even be fun to schedule a virtual happy hour. I also find that you can save time and potential misunderstandings with a quick call instead of sending an email.
I hope you are all adjusting to working from home and you and your families are staying safe and well.
*Original Post Written by Angela Caban February 2018 and updated by Briana Hartzell February 2022
About the bloggers:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two wonderful girls (8 and 5 years), graduate of Texas A&M University and a former full time USAA employee, turned work from home Community Manager. Briana currently resides in California and focuses on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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