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10 Toxic Habits of Working From Home

18 March 2022

While opinions on working from home drastically differ, even the happiest of home birds can begin to develop toxic working from home habits. Watch out for these ten destructive habits and learn how to avoid them:

#1 Never Clocking Off

The boundaries between work and home become blurred when the daily commute and change of venue disappear. The result is that work spills into our out-of-office time.

Starting work earlier or finishing later are difficult habits to break and may require an increase in productivity in the day so that you can still get everything done. However, the bottom line is that working too much is bad for your health and wellbeing.

How to Avoid:

- Spend at least 30 minutes starting your day in a positive way before sitting down to work. Enjoy a nutritious breakfast, take a stroll or do some stretching.

- Fully clock off at the end of your working day. Once you have finished working, avoid checking work emails and worrying about what you didn’t get done. Instead do something relaxing or fun with your evenings.

- Don’t work more hours than you are supposed to - at least not regularly.

#2 Isolation

Working from home can feel isolating at times as the opportunities for impromptu conversations with colleagues are limited and even speaking up in virtual meetings can be difficult.

The support network offered by colleagues can help to alleviate work pressures, provide a pick-me-up and dispense insider advice. Maintaining this network and feeling connected with others is much harder from home.

How to Avoid:

- Make regular plans to socialise with colleagues, friends and family.

- Schedule a Zoom chat with your work pal to catch up.

#3 Feeling the Pressure

Although many experienced a reduction in work pressure as we began working from home during the pandemic because it provided space away from helicopter bosses, this wasn’t the case for everyone.

The rise of virtual monitoring has resulted in an increase of pressure, surveillance and micromanaging for many.

How to Avoid:

- Keep in mind that you don’t have to work harder just because you are working from home. Aim to match, not exceed, your output and hours to when you were in the office.

- Speak with colleagues, HR and friendly supervisors about your work stress.

- Don’t be afraid to look for another job if there is no improvement.

#4 The Indoor Life

Without the daily need to leave the house for work, you can sometimes find that you haven’t been outside for days and rely on your phone to tell you the day’s weather.

How to Avoid:

- Ensure you get at least 10 minutes of fresh air and sunshine every day - it will have a huge effect on your mental health and mood.

- Take your lunch break outside, exercise outside or have a chat with a neighbour over the fence.

#5 Sedentary Lifestyle

Although many of us already had a rather sedentary lifestyle when we did go into work, the loss of the commute and the social lunch with colleagues has made this trend worse.

How to Avoid:

- Go for a walk on your lunch break.

- Invest in a standing desk to rotate regularly between sitting and standing as you work.

 

FlexiSpot’s Active standing desk EQ5

#6 Working in Bed

One of the worst working from home habits for your body and mood is working in bed. Not only is this terrible for your posture, it will also have a negative impact on your productivity, mood and ability to sleep at night.

How to Avoid:

- Enjoy a relaxing 10 minutes in bed in the morning with a book or a warm drink, then get up.

- Ensure you have an appealing space which is dedicated to work and avoid working anywhere else.

#7 Distractions

Distractions at home come in many forms - family members and children, the TV, social media, online shopping, house chores.

Resisting the temptation can be harder at home without the judgement of colleagues and supervisors to keep us in line.

 

How to Avoid:

- Set up a quiet, focused space for working, preferably with a door that can be closed.

- Use your breaks as time to indulge in these distractions.

- Set app timers on your phone and block distracting websites on your computer.

#8 Unproductive Workspace

Working hunched over a computer resting on a cardboard box is not good for your productivity or posture. Spaces that are cluttered, poorly lit or lack necessary equipment are also detrimental to productivity.

How to Avoid:

- Set up a minimalist, quiet and well-lit space for work.

- Ask your boss for the equipment you need to do your job well.

- Invest in quality office furniture to improve your posture, protect your body and improve your productivity.

#9 Lack of Motivation

Working from home requires more self-motivation and organisation than working in an office might require. It can be hard to pull yourself out of an afternoon slump when no one is around to peer at you judgmentally.

How to Avoid:

- Plan out your day and set yourself small achievable goals to reach regularly.

- Check in with a colleague regularly to provide each other with a boost.

#10 Skipping Breaks and Lunch

It can be easy to let breaks pass you by without the mass exodus of the office for lunch. And before you know it, you have worked through your breaks, not had anything to eat, and are working into the evening.

How to Avoid:

- Set a timer to remind you to have lunch. Eat something tasty and healthy to give you the energy for your afternoon.

Plan a call with a friend during a break to give you something to look forward to and a reminder to take some time away from your desk.