Work from home fatigue is real and so many remote workers are feeling it. The freedom working from home provides is a gift that can sneakily turn into a curse. The idea of working makeup-free in pajamas holds quite the allure. Grabbing a snack from your own kitchen as you please or switching out loads of laundry throughout your day so your evening is free sounds divine. And it is!
But, it does come at a price, self-accountability. The monotonous rut of work life isn’t reserved for the office. It can take over just as easily at home where you have more distractions. Catching up on an episode of your show here, social media there, and soon your days start slipping away with less and less work getting done. Before you know it, you’re gaining steam down the path of well… unemployment. You may be thinking, “geez, Farrah, doomsday enough?” But the possibility of getting fired for lack of productivity is a reality that needs to be addressed.
How can you avoid lurking procrastination and then stay the course of your job? Below are eight practices that you can quickly implement to avoid work-from-home fatigue.
#8 Take a walk
I’m not talking about walking to the fridge for a snack or to the bathroom to apply a face mask. I’m talking about getting outside and taking a 10-minute walk between meetings, energizing yourself by soaking up the sun and stretching your legs.
To really clear your head and push the reset button, pop in your ear buds and listen to your favorite song or podcast. Do this several times a day. You’ll not only feel refreshed to hit your work again, but you’ll get closer to achieving your daily steps goal. Challenge yourself to beat your lap time and pace. Might as well go for the gold while you’re at it.
#7 Change your location throughout the day
If you’re feeling drained or stuck, sometimes a change of setting is just what you need to refocus. If you have a laptop, you don’t need to be tied to your desk all day. Try working from another area of your house: living room, loft, kitchen island, dining room, spare room, porch, patio—essentially, anywhere you can get comfortable.
Worried about the background during your video calls? Lucky for you, the wonderful world of technology has you covered. Most video call platforms have a feature that will either blur or change the background so that others can’t see where you are. Problem solved.
No laptop? Don’t let your desktop pin you down. Switch out a yoga ball for your desk chair for part of your day. Or, take calls that don’t require your computer from other areas of your home. Walking around your home or yard during meetings is another good option. You’ll get your steps in and break away from your desk.
#6 Sign up for a daily water challenge
Water—not only good for your skin and body—can do wonders for keeping you awake and energized. The next time you find yourself heading to grab another cup of coffee, head to your freezer instead. Fill your favorite drinking glass with ice and top it with water. For extra appeal, add lemon, mint or cucumber. You’ll perk right up, and your body will thank you.
Challenge yourself to drink 8–10 glasses of water throughout your work hours. Keep track of your progress and reward yourself for accomplishing your goal.
#5 Stand during meetings
Standing desks continue to be a growing trend both at home and the office. For good reason. Not only can standing provide back, neck and shoulder relief, but it also helps with reducing fatigue.
Though elevated desks are great, you don’t need one to get out of your chair. Stand during phone calls or meetings. Doing so can help increase concentration levels as well as keep you alert and engaged.
Can’t commit to standing for every meeting? No problem. Try one meeting per day, and work your way up to standing during more meetings over time. You decide what works best for you.
#4 Adjust your lighting throughout the day
Improper lighting (too much or too little) and color temperature setting (warm, natural, cold) can not only put stress on your eyes, but it can also affect your mood and energy levels.
Try a desk or floor standing light with dimming and color temperature settings.
Prefer a more natural light setting? Adjust your window shades throughout the day. It may take some time, but once you dial in your personal preferences, you’ll never go back.
#3 Dress for success
If you’ve started working from home during the pandemic, chances are you’ve foregone wearing office attire and full makeup for sweats, tees, and a bare face. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Comfort is Queen! But sometimes the Queen needs to step out to step up. Getting yourself dressed for your workday will set you in the right frame of mind for productivity.
Head to that neglected section of your closet and pull out that “I’m kicking butt today” outfit. And don’t forget the shoes. Yes, shoes. Maybe not the 4-inch stilettos but a pair that does not resemble your slippers. Throw on some earrings and dive into your makeup. Do you need to go full face makeup? If you’re feeling it, by all means, go for it. But a simpler routine of light foundation, mascara and some lipstick go a long way to perking you up.
#2 Schedule breakfast and lunch dates
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to eat at home. Working from home does not equate to eating at our desk while working. No, ma’am!
When you were in the office you used to go out to lunch with coworkers. So why does that need to stop? It doesn’t. Now that we’re no longer locked in our homes, our eating options are endless, and I highly recommend you take advantage of that.
Working from home makes it easier to include people other than coworkers to your dining plans. Haven‘t seen your bestie in a while? Make a date for your favorite lunch spot. Need some one-on-one time with your spouse? Make a reservation at the new place you’ve been wanting to check out. Or maybe you just want to get out on your own.
Go ahead, fill up your calendar with dining dates once, twice or even every day of the work week. Just be mindful your lunch break doesn’t run into happy hour. You’ve still got work that needs to be done.
#1 Take a power nap
In some cultures, taking long breaks during the day is customary. They’re onto something with those siestas. Research shows taking power naps can recharge people and, therefore, boost productivity.
Whether you choose the sofa, your bed or a comfy chair, set a timer and drift into sweet dreams. When you wake up, grab yourself an ice water and you’ll be ready for round two of your day.
Experiment and find a strategy that works for you to best combat work-from-home fatigue.
Want ideas for items to spruce up your home office? Check out 10 Essentials for the Perfect Work From Home Office.
Have any other tips for avoiding work from home fatigue? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to share your ideas.
Happy work-from-home life!