There are pros and cons to every aspect of working on-premise versus at home. When it comes to diet, you might be excited about the healthier eating you’ll be doing without the option of jumping into the nearest café for a donut to go with your coffee and the fact that you’ll be forced to make your own lunch, which somehow has less of a calorie count even though you’re making the same pre-packaged sandwich you buy in the store.
But the other side of that is that it would be so easy to reach into your secret stash and steal a piece of chocolate you were saving for Friday night. A sandwich might become more of a meal with the time and freedom to make it, and before you know it, you’re overindulging. Or worse, it’s hard to separate work from home life at home, and you might find you even forget to eat. Whether you’re skipping lunch or breakfast, you’ll soon power down with nothing in the system.
Keep your fridge stocked with healthy eating options, and perhaps move the stash of chocolate to a time-sensitive safe? We’re only human, after all. Is there good news for the diet at home? Sure. You’re buying less by buying in bulk and grazing throughout the week rather than buying sandwich after sandwich, with no temptation for a quick stop in a fast-food outlet. Plus, your coffees are now $2 per tin rather than $3 per Starbucks Instagram shot. Plus, you will get to actually enjoy your food. Isn’t there just something quite depressing about unwrapping your sandwich from its foil as you scroll through Instagram #recipeideas? You can give your food that extra flourish or garnish, you can try something new, and you’ve got the cooker right there if you want something a little more exciting than ramen noodles.
If you are someone who needs their exercise to be incidental, working from home might have rendered your body useless. Whether you cycle, run or walk to work to get your blood pumping, that might have come to an abrupt stop when the lockdown was implemented, and you’ll need to find better ways to get moving. And you do have to get moving. There has been a lot of talk about the negative effects of sitting at a desk in your company office, so don’t convince yourself that sitting in your bed while you work is any better. If you keep your laptop charging on your bedside table, you might not even get out of bed to work! Getting up to make a coffee doesn’t count.
Protect your back. If that goes, everything follows. So, throw out that garden chair you’ve pulled out and invest in a decent chair, and be sure to take regular breaks. If you’re really having trouble, make an appointment with a chiropractor to make sure your back is kept in tip-top shape. The perk of working at home is the lack of commuting, which in turn means you have more time. That hour you’d have spent in traffic or on the train can now be spent going for a run or trying out the home-yoga genre of YouTube tutorials.
But there are other things to think of when it comes to your body than just exercise. If you are experiencing headaches you notice are going away when you step away from the computer, you might want to pick up a pair of blue light glasses. Keep an air purifier nearby. It’s oddly common for offices to trigger “occupational allergies” coming from the carpet chemicals, office furniture, and paint, for example. But, no matter the state you keep your home office in, sometimes allergies can flare up. Open the window once in a while to clear the room from anything that could fuzz up your head. But if it’s cold weather, an air purifier will work just as well.
Then there is the biggest downvote for working from home: your mental health.
Look, the mailman might creep you out, your manager might grind your gears, but people need people. Your co-workers can be Satan himself, but even Satan has the occasional one-liner that has you in stitches. If you’ve gotten into the habit of rolling over, opening your laptop and getting on with your work, you might find your voice croaks when you say hi to the kids when they come in from school. Point is, it can be isolating working from home. So, if you get the chance, try to talk to someone. Shoot a pal a cheeky text, offer to handle the customer service once in a while (they can’t ALL be awful), call a co-worker if you need a little help with something.
The secondary issue of working from home is right there in the title: you are working from home. That is a clash of worlds with no clear boundary, therefore it can be hard to switch off. Those breaks I suggested earlier, are not only for your body to get a break from holding you up in your chair but for your mind to step away from your work for a moment. If you can, get outside. Nature, even the inner city nature’s occasional tree, and brisk air, will help you switch off for a few minutes. If your home allows it, carve out a corner for you to work in and absolutely nothing else. If you are working from your laptop in your bed, you will simply start thinking about work while trying to sleep. If you’re working at the dining table, you’ll be thinking about work while you’re trying to eat. Have you ever walked through a door and forgotten why you went in there? We all have. That’s because your brain resets when it enters a room. So, use that to your advantage and make your own office in a spare bedroom so that you’re ready to work the second you walk in.