It's been nearly three years since many Americans started to work from home (WFH), and many may need a change in their routine. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, time-management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders explains why you may want to change your WFH routine and how to do it.
1. You're bored with the same routine
You may want to change things up because monotony is starting to get at you, Saunders writes. You may miss interacting with people at work and instead of starting work on time, you're logging in and sleeping a bit more.
One way to shake things up is a change of scenery, Saunders writes. You could work in a coffee shop, a library, or sit by the pool in warmer climates. But if your work isn't easy to transport, you could have a virtual coworking buddy, asking a coworker or friend to work alongside you on a video call or utilizing a service like FocusMate, which pairs you with someone else who needs to get something done at the same time as you, Saunders writes.
You could also add something new to your day, like signing up for a gym or looking up events happening in your area. "Sometimes having something to look forward to in the evening hours can make you much more focused in the daytime hours," Saunders writes.
2. Routines at your house have changed
You may need to adjust your WFH routine because other routines within your house have changed. For example, perhaps your spouse went back to the office or your kids changed schools or you have a new pet that needs to be cared for.
These changes are important and mean you need to consider the different parts of your day, Saunders writes. Perhaps you need to adjust your start time or look into carpooling options or modify your exercise schedule.
"Acknowledge how the changes in your household routine give you more or less time, and then reset your expectations accordingly," Saunders writes.
3. You want to establish healthier habits
For some people, working from home led to an increase in self-care, as they were able to sleep more or take evening walks. But for others, it meant not having a defined stop time, leading them to work later and then sleep later, Saunders writes. Others stopped exercising or started eating more unhealthy foods.
One way to establish healthier habits is to give yourself a firm start and end time for work so you're able to wind down in the evening and get to bed sooner, Saunders writes. Once you've put in the hours that you need, regardless of when those hours end, "give yourself permission to stop guilt-free," Saunders writes.
You could also start doing 10 minutes of exercise each day at home, using apps like Sworkit that provide short exercise routines or using videos on YouTube. Taking five-minute walks instead of checking your phone as a way of taking a break can also be helpful, Saunders writes.
As for eating healthy, you can establish time on the weekends or a weeknight to shop at the grocery store, Saunders writes. Many stores have premade salads or quick meals that are often less expensive and healthier than ordering takeout. Apples, bananas, baby carrots, and other healthy snacks can also help encourage nutritious eating, Saunders writes.
"Just because your [WFH] schedule isn't terrible, doesn't mean that it couldn't be better," Saunders writes. "Use these strategies if you need a new relationship with your remote work schedule in the new year." (Saunders, Harvard Business Review, 1/13)
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