Many of you got a taste of working from home this past year, and for some of you, it looks like the at-home trend is going to stick around for a while longer.  If you’ve experienced both worlds of working from home versus working in a traditional office setting, then you know the rules are drastically different for each scene.  I mean, it’s not likely you’d wear your favorite Hello Kitty PJ’s and bunny slippers during a meeting held at your company’s downtown office.  Alternatively, you’re probably not wearing six-inch stilettos while Zooming clients from your laptop in the kitchen (or maybe you do, that’s cool too).

You get the idea, working remotely is a whole different animal than working at a conventional office.  Because of these vast differences, some standards may be lowered (or missed altogether) while working from home. Here are some tips to keep you happy, healthy, and productive while crushing it from the home office.

Getting a Grip on Self-Care When You Work From Home

Many of you have expressed concerns about working from home. That’s understandable. If you were accustomed to the commute, a cubicle or office, scheduled lunch breaks, or socializing with coworkers it might be tough to have that all disappear. Making transitions into the home office scene isn’t always easy. In fact, there is a load of growing evidence that reveals that a growing majority of people working from home are stressed out. Here are a few helpful hints to get you running at top-notch levels while working from home.

Keep a Schedule: One of the biggest challenges to working from home is keeping to a firm routine. In a conventional office, our day is pretty much ruled by the time clock. Most workplaces keep set times for when you clock in, take breaks, and when you leave for the day. It’s not as cut-and-dry when working from home.  Without establishing clear times during the day for starting, quitting, and breaks there is a temptation to skip out on much-needed downtime. Working within a clear schedule is essential so you can recharge your energy, stay healthy and productive. Do yourself a favor, set a daily work schedule, and stick to it.

Separate Yourself: Home is where we eat chips while watching the TV, or palling around with friends in the kitchen over a glass of wine. In other words, most homes don’t exactly lend themselves to perfect office settings. If at all possible, carve out space in your home that is 100% devoted to your home office.  This helps make a clear distinction between recreation and work-related productivity.

Socialize: In a traditional office workspace, you might have enjoyed chatting with co-workers around the coffee pot or water cooler. The work-from-home movement has put the kibosh on that scene. It’s important to continue socializing to stay healthy while working from home. So, consider face-time with friends, or brainstorming with co-workers you admire from work. Staying social while working at home will help you maintain productivity and help keep you balanced.

Health Routine:  Because the lines between work and home are blurred in a home office setting, there may be tendencies to slack off on self-care.  Too often, you may find yourself working longer hours. Those 2 hours you scheduled for the marketing campaign turns into a 12-hour craze-fest. Abiding by a regimented health routine is just as crucial as following a work schedule. For example, take time to hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Also, stick to your beauty regime every morning and night. And don’t forget to pamper yourself at least once a week by indulging in your favorite face products, or having special spa time. It’s too easy to neglect your needs when work might be hovering over you all the time at home so don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Stretch it Out: This tip is essential for both conventional workplaces and home offices. Those of us who work hard often forget to take breaks to move and stretch…this leads to the ‘keyboard body’ which is scrunched up, stiff and tired all the time. Nobody needs that! Set aside time to do a few simple yoga stretches, or just get up and walk for a bit. This isn’t a workout routine, it’s just a bit of a time-out to move the body and get the blood flowing back to the brain. Your body will thank you and so will your boss because taking breaks to stretch will also boost your productivity.

Working at home isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Hopefully, these tips to maintaining your self-care while working from home will help you re-think your productivity and establish better ways of living and working in harmony.