The WFH Slump: 10 Ways To Be More Productive While Working From Home


Peter Jobes Hacker Noon profile picture

Peter Jobes is a tech & blockchain writer. Featured in VentureBeat.

Are you missing the Monday morning coffee commute? Are you craving the lunchtime staff room chitchat, or the simple 9-5 office structure that the corporate world has grown accustomed to? As 2021’s office couture screams jogging bottoms and a messy bun, it’s ok to be over the WFH slump

With 56% of workers only working remotely for the last year, working from home is still something most of us are adjusting to. Swapping the office chair for the comfy couch may sound idyllic, but for those of us new to the WFH arena, maintaining the same levels of productivity can be challenging.

(Source: Statista)

In a post-Covid corporate landscape, for many, working from home is here to stay. For new graduates starting their first position or city dwellers feeling lost and lonely in a small apartment, the new normal can be daunting and damaging for your mental health

As the corporate world continues to evolve and adapt, we have collated 10 productivity-boosting tips and tricks to help pull you out of that WFH slump.

Stay Hydrated

Stop reading this and refill that water bottle. One of the key factors that contribute towards a productive working day is your hydration. In a study by Premium Waters, being only 3-4% dehydrated can lower your work performance by 25-50% in just a few hours.

If you’re struggling with WFH fatigue or you can feel your productivity slowly draining, it may be time to step away from the screen and enjoy a glass of water. When dehydrated, the body’s common response is an increase in both temperature and heart rate, which both affect your mental ability.

However, those who frequently drink water throughout the working day often feel brighter, switched on, and ready to be more productive.

Exercise To Energise 

Factoring exercise into your WFH schedule could also be a game-changer in terms of productivity. Taking 10-30 minutes out of your day for light aerobic exercise helps your brain release endorphins, known to improve your mood, reduce fatigue and boost productivity.

In fact, one study found that exercise during the workday not only aids mental wellbeing, but participants saw a 72% improvement in their productivity and time management skills when they started their day off with exercise.

Take Regular Screen Breaks 

Do you ever feel as if you have square eyes after a long day of work? Taking regular screen breaks improves both your mental and physical wellbeing. Those of us who feel glued to our computers during the working day can often suffer from screen-related headaches and eyestrain as a consequence of not taking a break.

Factoring in 10 minutes every hour to step away from your work, will not only reduce the physical symptoms associated with screen overuse but will improve productivity and mental wellbeing. Taking regular breaks allows us to breathe and regain motivation, making us more successful when reapproaching our work.

We recommended the Pomodoro Technique, which combines highly focused work bursts with short breaks for ultimate productivity.

Welcome Work Aids

Yes, the couch may be comfy, and working from your bed may seem idyllic but mimicking the office in your own home may be your saving grace. Whether you dedicate a room to your office space, or welcome work aids into your WFH setup, recreating the office environment in your household can boost productivity and pull you out of the slump.

Introducing work aids such as an office chair for back support and blue-light glasses to battle against screen-related eyestrain can drastically change up your WFH experience.

Sort Out Your Sleep Schedule 

Although you may be excited to swap that hour commute into the office for an extra hour in bed, studies show that maintaining your original workday sleep schedule is the key to success. By prioritising your sleeping routine, you are more likely to receive better quality of sleep and maintain more energy throughout the day.

A study by The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine stated that workers who had an irregular sleep schedule were more likely to fall into an unsuccessful working slump, revealing that sleep-deprived employees had "significantly worse productivity, performance, and safety outcomes" during their 9-5.

A great way to achieve an effective slumber routine is to make a plan and stick to it. Both sleeping and waking up at the same time each day is a fantastic way to reset and settle your body clock, improving REM sleep quality while leaving you feeling refreshed and motivated in the morning.

Clock Out and Turn Off

Knowing when to turn off those email alerts has become one of the most difficult challenges newly remote workers have begun to face. Without a physical office building to clock in and out of, the hours seem to seep away, and before you know it, breakfast becomes bedtime. 

Structuring your workday is imperative when trying to improve productivity. Maintaining that 9-5 working day can be difficult at home but in order to prioritise your mental wellbeing, it’s important to step away once the clock strikes 5 pm.

Turn those devices off, grab those fluffy slippers and enjoy a night in with your family and friends. Taking time to unwind reduces work-related stress, refreshing your mind for a refocused and productive tomorrow.

Eat Healthily 

As well as reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, prioritising a healthy diet during your working week is proven to improve productivity and reduce absenteeism during employment.

A study by the British Journal of Health Psychology found that employees who eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day performed 25% better during work than those who didn’t.

For remote workers, eating healthily has never been easier. With a fridge full of goodness sat beside them, WFH employees are less likely to indulge in the high street fast-food chains and prepare something at home instead. If you’re looking to improve your WFH diet, why not bulk cook throughout the week and enjoy a quick, yet nutritious meal on the go.

Plan Work Ahead

If you’re the kind of person who loves to hit snooze in the morning and doesn’t quite feel alive without their morning coffee infusion, this next trick might be for you. Productivity comes in all shapes and sizes and most importantly at different times of the day depending on who you are.

If you lack morning motivation yet feel yourself springing back to life at 4 pm, taking time at the end of your workday to plan the next may be a productivity-boosting game changer. 

It’s important to utilise your energy wisely during bursts of productivity. To make an un-motivated morning easier, lay out a plan of your daily tasks the night before, allowing for a smooth morning transition and an extra few minutes in bed.

Ditch Distractions 

One of the largest productivity pausing offenders is the fact that while working from home, we are surrounded by distractions. Whether it’s your smartphone or your television, mixing work with your homelife environment can be tricky to balance, especially if you’re a digital native.

In order to set yourself up for the ultimate productive day, dedicate a space in your home for work only. In that space, remove all distractions including your phone, television, and most importantly that inviting bed and enjoy looking forward to rewarding yourself at lunchtime with that cheeky Instagram refresh.

Get a WFH Buddy 

Last, but certainly not least, in order to boost productivity while working from home, prioritising and improving your mental health is a must in order to see workplace success. As many are still adapting to the world of working from home, it’s common to feel lost and lonely as the corporate landscape continues to change.

(Source: Statista)

As displayed in the graph above, since the onset of Covid-19, 37% of young respondents aged 18-24 reported feeling lonely a little more than usual, while an extra 15% claimed that they experienced feeling lonely a lot more than usual.

For a newly remote workforce, finding another person to talk to who can relate to new struggles and 9-5 adaptations is a great way to remain social and reduce WFH stress. Whether it’s a fellow colleague, or a friend in the same situation, having a confidant willing to listen during stressful times improves mental health, confidence, and in turn productivity.

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