Melinda Noufal, physiologist at AXA Health

Being productive when working from home

26 March 2020

Working from home has many positives but sometimes it can be a challenge to keep productive. We all know about work life balance and the importance of having a routine, but when your home and place of work merge, there’s a chance this could end up being an afterthought. AXA Health physiologist, Melinda Noufal, shares her top tips on how you can remain productive when working from home.

Top tips for productive home working

  • Start your day as usual - As far as possible try to stick to your regular routine. Avoid pressing that snooze button and get up at your normal time. Fight the temptation of staying in your pyjamas by getting ready for work in the usual way. Getting showered and changed will help to refresh you and get you energised for the day.

    If you normally squeeze in a gym session before work, see what home exercises you can do. There are lots of online workouts to try, and tins of food and bottles of laundry detergent can act as great free weights!

  • Fuel yourself! Have a good breakfast to help set you up for your working day. Aim to include at least 1 of your 5 a day in your breakfast – fruits, vegetables or 150ml fruit juice. Try to opt for wholegrain options, oats, bran flakes, sourdough/brown bread, eggs or yoghurt to ensure that you're getting wholesome, nutrient dense food.

    Take a look at our tips for healthy eating when working from home for more on how to nourish your mind and body throughout the day.

  • Prioritise your tasks - To do lists can be fun! And there’s no denying the satisfaction that comes from ticking things off. Be critical and prioritise your tasks based on your energy levels throughout the day.

    Your energy levels may vary differently throughout the home-working day compared to a normal day in the office. Try to schedule important tasks for when you feel most productive.

  • Create your own working space - Working from your bed or sofa may sound inviting, but think about whether that will really help your productivity levels. Set a boundary and have a space at home that you can use as your office. Creating a dedicated ’office’ space in the home may help to keep those work-life boundaries in place.

    Where possible, work from a supportive chair with your laptop on a table or work surface, and try to maintain good posture. Ensure you take regular breaks to reduce the risk of discomfort and burnout.

  • Patience - It takes time to adjust to a different type of working and a new home-based routine. This is particularly so if you’re also having to juggle child care, home schooling, or if there are others in the house to take into account.

    Be mindful of your normal working hours and communicate with your Line Manager and other colleagues to establish the best routine for you.

  • Incorporate personal deadlines - You can use household tasks to your advantage! Have you just put a load of laundry in the washing machine? Set yourself a goal to go finish certain tasks by the time the cycle ends.

    Alternatively, set yourself a deadline for your tasks before lunch or before an afternoon break and reward yourself with time away from your desk to do something you enjoy.

  • Pick up the phone - It’s good to talk! Calling your colleagues for a catch up will help everyone stay connected. Have video calls or virtual coffee meet-ups with your team. This can be particularly beneficial if you are trying to minimise contact with people and can save another email in your inbox! Our article has more tips to help you stay connected when working remotely.

  • Take regular breaks: Regular 5-10 minute breaks will help give your productivity a boost during the day. Don’t forget about your lunch break – use this time to move away from your ’office’ set up and have a rest period between screen time.

    Open the window to get some fresh air or walk around the garden if you can. If you usually do something active during lunch, find a home workout video to follow.

Being productive whilst working from home can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to it. Patience is important but try your best to get into a routine and remain positive. Be realistic with your goals and workload and try to keep your home life separate.

Further resources

Common posture mistakes and fixes - NHS website

Looking after yourself during self-isolation - AXA Health

Top tips for healthy eating when working from home  - AXA Health

Staying connected when working remotely - AXA Health

Staying positive during adversity - AXA Health

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