Every evening, 18% of people don’t set their alarm for an early start the next morning. Every morning, 18% of workers don’t inch themselves out from under the bedcovers and put on crumpled workwear in the semi-dark. Every late afternoon, 18% of employees don’t fight for leg room on their commute after a long day at work.
The digital phenomenon that has 18% of people bidding cheerful goodbyes to all the trying aspects of the nine-to-five grind is definitely remote working. It comes with a ton of benefits for both companies and their employees, with flexibility, time-saving, talent pooling and cost effectiveness counting among some of the best advantages of the remote working lifestyle.
Despite this, working from home can come with a very particular set of challenges. The danger of becoming too comfortable at your place of work is all too real. In this blog post, we explore all the bad habits you can pick up when working from home.
#1 Poor sleeping habits
Sleeping in late or staying up until the small hours might seem attractive at first, but research proves otherwise. A study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) links irregular sleeping habits, such as going to bed at different times, and getting different amounts of sleep each night, to obesity, irregular metabolism, anxiety, high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure, among others. This is why maintaining a regular sleep schedule is ultra important when you work from home.
#2 Poor time management
Time is a fickle fellow, and being able to manage your time is an essential skill to master when there are chores and other family members constantly pulling at your metaphorical skirts. Setting a schedule can be a good way of getting the most of the time you have available, as well as an ability to multitask. Learning to manage your time takes practise, but there are plenty of tools that the modern freelancer has available nowadays – there are dozens of useful apps that help maximise productivity and save you plenty of time.
#3 Poor personal hygiene
If you’ve just started working from home after years of working from the office, throwing your workwear out of the window will be one of the biggest perks. But vegging out in your nightwear all day will help neither your productivity or morale. It’s surprising how many digital workers forget their self-care when they are constantly at their laptops. According to Dr Karen Pine, a well-known fashion psychologist, there is a strong association between what we wear and our mood. We all know what it means to put on something fabulous and feeling like you can conquer the world. So don’t toss out that power suit just yet – you might need it!
#4 Ignoring your social life
It’s astounding that, in an age when we have never been more technologically connected, loneliness and isolation remain very real phenomenons, particularly for remote workers, who may easily forget that an actual world exists beyond their keyboards. “Meaningful, face-to-face interactions” can be an important part of staying connected – and holding on to your sanity.
#5 Bad eating habits
As a recovering perennial snacker, I could wax lyrical about all the dangers of eating poorly when you work from home. It’s hard to tear yourself away from your computer mid-project – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do yourself a favour and cook yourself a meal rather than graze on nachos and peanut butter (guilty). Apart from the obvious health-related issues these might bring (such as weight gain and bad skin), snacking on too much processed food will only give you short-lived energy boosts – and that’s not what you’re looking for if you want to put in a few solid hours of work.
#6 Poor posture
The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are very real for us digital workers, especially if, like me, you’re apt to work at every available surface. Beds and couches can spell doom for your posture and potentially carry effects both in the long and short run, such as chronic back pain and scoliosis. Your best – and healthiest – option is to set up a makeshift office with a proper desk and chair. Another option might be a standing desk, which is often said to maximise productivity, especially if you tend to work in short bursts.
#7 Working too much
Wi-fi is everywhere, and one of the most common complaints of digital workers is that they can’t “switch off” when they need to. According to a study by Buffer, 22% of remote workers struggle to incorporate free time into their schedule. Do you really have to reply to that email you received at 00:23 on a Sunday morning? Learn to give yourself a break and unplug from technology once in a while, even if it’s just for a few hours a week.
#8 Neglecting your health
Though many digital workers have the same opportunities for sick leave, time off, etc. as their nine-to-five counterparts, the same study by Buffer found that remote workers are more likely to work through minor ailments. And, though refusing to let a blocked nose keep you from working won’t kill you, don’t make a habit of ignoring more serious health issues.
#9 Picking up addictive habits
During my early days as a freelance writer, caffeine became my best friend. I was juggling a full-time career and a couple of young kids, so, until I got used to the whole time-management scenario, I was drinking a lot of coffee. Pretty soon, it was keeping me up at night. I was getting less sleep. I would then end up making even more coffee to keep me awake during the day, since I was so tired.
It was a short-lived addiction but nevertheless, an addiction. Instead of caffeine, it could have been cigarettes, alcohol, or even binge-eating. The comfort of being at home, where everything is always so available, only encourages these types of addictive behaviours, so it’s up to you to find out what your weak spot is, and control it.
#10 Forgetting your job altogether
Unless you make it a point to eliminate home distractions, it’s easy to get swept up in the chaos that is family life. Completing one chore after another because it “just can’t wait” won’t help you get any work in, and pretty soon, another wasted day will be coming to an end. Just because you’re lucky enough to work from home doesn’t mean you can slack off – on the contrary, you need to be tough enough and motivated enough to push yourself to reach your deadlines without a boss constantly breathing down your neck.
#Get into the habit!
Yes, working from home can present a whole minefield of dangers, but we’re confident you have the abilities to overcome them! If you are a freelance writer looking for a fresh new challenge, let us know – we’re currently on the lookout!