10 Ways to Avoid Becoming Stagnant While Working From Home

We’re about 10 months into working from home, but with a new year can also come a refreshed mindset. Making small changes to your daily WFH routines can make all the difference in how you feel about starting off another year working from your bedroom. Here are 10 tips to revamp your WFH experience, instead of following the monotonous routine of waking up, turning your laptop on, working all day and then signing off. 

  1. 1. Do something you enjoy before you start checking your inbox

    Woman sits in bed with her phone, a book and a mug.

    Use the time you would’ve used for your commute to do something you love. I started a new routine in 2021 of waking up 30 minutes earlier and using that time for myself to keep up with my goal of reading more. Having the time to myself before I open my laptop and log on to work has made a huge difference in the tone of my mornings. Find something you enjoy and start your day that way!

  2. 2. Go for walks and get fresh air during the day

    two friends walking big dogs on leashes on a bright grassy hill

    It might be cold (hello, New England winters!), but getting 20–30 minutes of sun and fresh air can really give your brain a nice break and reset your mind, allowing you to be more productive upon returning to your laptop. I try to take my dog for a walk mid-morning or when I hit my afternoon slump (and sometimes both if I have time). A change of scenery is the perfect way to use your breaks.

  3. 3. Take a break to break a sweat

    Pink weights and workout gear

    In addition to getting outside for some fresh air, set aside time during the work day to do a workout. Since you’re at home, you should take advantage of being able to step away from work to get in some fitness. Luckily YouTube has an unlimited number of quick workout videos you can try. Many of my colleagues also have spin bikes that they use during the day (I wish!). Block off time on your calendar that works for you to get a sweat in, and see the difference it can make in your day.

  4. 4. Step up your WFH outfits

    People say what you wear makes a difference in your performance and mindset, so why not try stepping up your outfits and see how it feels? Challenge yourself to revamp what type of outfits you wear during the work day. Instead of your favorite sweats, maybe try a pair of leather leggings and a cute sweater. Taking a little bit of extra time to put on a cute (but still comfy) outfit can have a positive effect on your whole day.

  5. 5. Communicate with your colleagues about when your start/end times and breaks are

    minimalist office space with a full agenda

    Set boundaries with your colleagues about when you will and won’t be online, and when you will be taking breaks. If you use Google calendar, you can set your working hours on there so it’s visible to anyone trying to set up a meeting with you. It’s okay to say no if you're overwhelmed and need to step away from your laptop for a break. ​

  6. 6. Treat yourself to coffee from your favorite coffee shop

    Having a treat to look forward to can be enough to push you through the end of a tough work week. One of my favorite routines is getting my Starbucks on Fridays. I make coffee at home during the week, and look forward to hitting up my local Starbucks once I've made it through the week.

  7. 7. Set up Zoom or Hangouts calls with coworkers that you haven’t seen for a while

    people on zoom call

    One of the things I miss the most about being in the office is the random chats in the kitchen with my coworkers. Shoot a couple of your coworkers that you haven’t talked to recently a Slack message and ask to set up a designated time slot to jump on a Zoom or Hangouts and catch up. A couple of my coworkers and I have a standing calendar invite on Wednesdays at lunchtime where we get together and chat online, time permitting.

  8. 8. Make a kickass playlist for background noise

    Photo of a phone playing "Red" by Taylor Swift

    We all know what kind of music makes us the most productive — it’s time to make a playlist dedicated to your work day. Maybe you prefer classical piano without words to help you focus, or maybe you like working to old school One Direction; whatever your jam is, set it up as the background to your workspace.

  9. 9. Plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead of time

    Three pre-made meals in containers

    Take the extra time at the start of the week to plan out what you'll be eating during the work week. Not only will this save time in your day, but it'll remove the stress of wondering what’s for lunch, too. I subscribe to Freshly for my lunches so I know I always have a nutritious meal to heat up during busy work days. I keep fruit, veggies, crackers, cheese and hummus on hand so I can make a quick snack plate when I get hungry in the afternoon. If you often forget to take the time to actually eat your lunch with all the craziness of the work day, block off time on your calendar as a reminder to take that break.

  10. 10. Close your laptop and actually get offline at the end of the day

    person holding a remote control pointed at TV streaming netflix

    Once your work day is over, shut down your laptop and stop checking emails and Slack (even from your phone). As soon as I'm done with my work for the day, I make a point to close my laptop and do something off of the computer to relax and unwind. 

These 10 tips will help you revamp your WFH routine and avoid becoming stagnant in the new year. Working from home likely won’t last forever, so enjoy the flexibility and comfort while you can!

Related: 6 Ways to Make The End of Your Work Day Actually Feel Like The End of Your Work Day

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