Once considered a luxury, working from home is now a reality for many people due to COVID-19 and the ever growing remote work trend. In theory, working from home sounds great. You’re in your own space. The refrigerator is in walking distance. You get to use your own bathroom instead of braving public restrooms throughout the work day. But despite the positives, there are some downsides to working from home.

Because you’re home, some of the things that would come more naturally in an office — like working set hours or socializing — don’t happen without extra effort on your part. And these things are important to maintaining your mental and physical health. Here are a few ways to stay healthy while working from home.

Have set work hours

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One of the benefits of working from home is that gives you more flexibility on what hours you do your work. That’s great, but exercising some discipline here is essential to creating work / life balance. Make sure you schedule what hours you are going to work, when you are going to take breaks, and what time the work day is over. Creating a schedule that you stick to makes sure that you don’t over- or under-work and helps to separate your work life from your home life.

Have a separate workspace

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Working from home is great because all your creature comforts are within walking distance. Working from home can be disastrous for the same reason. Never leaving your bed, being constantly distracted by pets, kids, or your significant other, experiencing back pain because you’ve slouched on the couch all day — these can all be avoided by having a separate workspace. If you’re unable to have a full home office with a door that you can close to avoid distraction, at least designate a desk or space where you work everyday.  

Move around

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Speaking of back pain, make sure you move around during your scheduled breaks. Take a walk, do a ten-minute exercise video, or even some jumping jacks next to your computer. If you can go outside, even better. The flip side of the convenience of working from home is that the physical movement that is usually built into your work day no longer happens unless you make it happen.

Socialize

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Last but not least, don’t forget to socialize. This can be having a virtual game night with friends, calling your family, or enjoying an at-home happy hour with your co-workers over Skype. Regular social interactions are essential to mental health, especially during uncertain and stressful times.

Many people are struggling right now. If you are too, remember that all difficult times come to an end and that what we can do now is to try our best to take care of ourselves and the people around us. Whether you’re happy to work from home or itching to get back to the office, follow these work from home tips and suggest them to your friends and family so that everyone can maintain their best mental and physical conditions.