Whether you used to work in an office full-time or dabbled in telecommuting, it’s hard to argue that everything about our work lives has been shaken up these last few months. There are kids online-schooling, meals to prep, and dishes staring at you from the sink, all while you’re trying to log conference calls and tackle your to-do list.
Beyond ditching the pajamas and getting dressed for the day, there are other creative ways to add a dose of pleasure to working from home. Here, eight tips on working from home that can make your day-to-day more productive and—yes!—even fun.
How to Make Working From Home More Enjoyable
#1 Turn Commute Time Into Me-Time
Whether you took a car, subway, or bicycle, you likely devoted some chunk of your day to commuting. In fact, the average American commutes nearly 30 minutes every day. And while it may have been a headache sometimes, you might miss those minutes (or hours!) to yourself, whether that meant listening to an audiobook, catching up with a friend over speakerphone, or daydreaming on the train.
Just because your commute now means walking from the bed to the dining table doesn’t mean you have to give up that me-time. Turn your former commute time into self-care, whether it’s a few sun salutations, a guided meditation, or time to sit on the patio and people-watch.
#2 Have a Dedicated Work Space—then Move It
It doesn’t matter if you have a literal home office or not, creating a space for all things work can help separate paperwork from play (there’s nothing less fun than catching up on your favorite TV show after dinner only to see piles of documents strewn all over the couch that remind you of work). Stick to working in your dedicated space and then incorporate a bit of “casual Friday” vibes into WFH by moving to the backyard, kitchen island, or yes, even the couch, once a week or more. It’s all about peppering in variety to keep things interesting.
#3 Stimulate Your Senses
Maybe you weren’t allowed to burn candles in the office or maybe your officemate’s perfume always drove you nuts. Now that you’re working from your own home, you get to dictate just how much (or little) you energize those olfactory senses.
Candles, incense, or an essential oil diffuser are all simple, space-efficient ways to add some aroma. Looking for energy? Try scents with rosemary or peppermint. If you’re looking to dial it down, try lavender or ylang-ylang.
#4 Pump Up the Jams
If music doesn’t get in the way of your flow, consider adding some tunes to your work station. You can customize playlists depending on what you have going on that day, keeping in mind that instrumental music is usually better for concentration. And since music has been shown to improve mood, we fully encourage dance parties throughout the day.
#5 Schedule Breaks
If you’re nostalgic for those between-work conversations you’d have with coworkers, there’s a good reason. Not only does the catch-up time offer a sense of connection and community within a workplace, but it also gives your brain and eyes a much-needed break from mental overload. It can even increase productivity.
Experts suggest the famed Pomodoro technique, which entails working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break (and upping that break time after you’ve reached 4 work segments). This method forces you to hit pause, and while you might not have coworkers at home other than your dog, you can take that well-deserved time to send a message to your friend, do some light stretching, or take the pup out for a quick walk. And if you struggle to build in those breaks, try blocking out segments on your calendar to create forced R&R.
#6 Snack with Style
Just like you might pop over to a cafe in the late morning or walk to the corner deli for a nosh at 3 p.m., make snack time at home an event. We love keeping sugar-free desserts on hand, as well as gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory snacks like mangos and homemade collagen gummies.
No office—no Tupperware necessary. Plate your food on a pretty platter, pour yourself some sparkling water and enjoy. And to truly feel like you’re getting that break, try to avoid snack al desko and take it to a different room.
#7 Take a Walking Meeting
Unless you need your computer or paperwork by your side, there’s no reason you need to chain yourself to a table the whole workday. Pop in some earbuds and take a stroll outside while you take your work call. You can kill a few birds with one stone—accomplish a work to-do, get some fresh air, and log steps for the day.
#8 End the Day With a Fun Ritual
Sure, some situations call for working into the night or brainstorming a work project after dinner, but as much as possible, put a hard stop to the end of your workday, so you have a clear separation between professional and personal.
In the office, the end of the day might have meant happy hour with friends at a bar. But when you’re working from home, you have so many more options. You could lace up for a jog, play fetch with your dog in the backyard, or throw an at-home happy hour while catching up with your partner or roommate. Whatever it is, try to turn it into a ritual, so it’s something you can look forward to. It can help you feel refreshed so that you start the next WFH day with a clear, well-rested mind.
Make WFH Work For You
Even if you’ve been at it for months, the remote work life can be an adjustment. It takes time for your mind and body to learn new patterns, so if it’s a challenge to do everything from our round-up of working from home tips—maybe all you have the mental energy for is to get dressed, finish the work day’s to-do list, then hang out with your family—remember that it’s normal, healthy, and maybe just what you need to recharge. Be patient with yourself, and keep in mind that no two days look exactly the same.
Let us know the creative ways you’re making WFH work for you!