6 Work-From-Home Tips To Take Back To The Office

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At the beginning of the pandemic, working from home was quite the adjustment for millions of people around the world: waking up and opening the laptop, working from the place we’re used to lounging. Eventually, however, most of us got used to it—and even began to truly enjoy it. We created new routines, took midday walks, ate lunch with family members—and probably best of all, didn’t have to face rush-hour traffic.

But now, as many people are fully vaccinated, more employees are heading back to the office. And that might prove to be as big of an adjustment as working from home once was.

“Working from home taught us healthy habits: how to have a work-life balance, how to incorporate exercise and the outdoors into our daily lives, how we can impact our health by cooking instead of eating out—and how we can live a more relaxed lifestyle instead of being on the go all of the time,” says Jay Weiss, MA, LLP, an employee assistance program therapist at Henry Ford Health System. “But just because you’re going back to work doesn’t mean these new habits have to fall by the wayside.”

Here, what we’ve learned while working from home—and how to incorporate them into your life at the office.

  1. Take breaks. While working from home, we found that afternoon walks provided an instant, caffeine-free pick-me-up. At the office, you might have to work a little harder to continue this habit, but it’s worth it. “For every hour you’re sitting, give yourself five to 10 minutes of stretching, walking—something that will get the blood flowing,” says Weiss. “Physics says that objects at rest stay at rest, and objects in motion stay in motion. If we’re just sitting at our desks and not moving, we get lethargic and don’t want to do anything.”
  2. Take advantage of human interaction. At the height of the pandemic, we craved human interaction. We realized how spur-of-the-moment conversations with strangers (whether at the grocery store or while taking the dog for a walk) can instantly lift our spirits. Now that we can see people in person, make it a point to do so. “When you need to talk to a coworker, pop over to their desk instead of emailing them,” says Weiss. “It can also save time: what could’ve been a five-minute conversation sometimes turns into 30 emails back and forth.” One note: Respect your coworkers’ comfort levels, whether they wish to social distance or wear their mask.
  3. Have lunch. (A real lunch.) One of the luxuries of working from home was being able to make lunch in the kitchen and eat it at the table or outside on the patio. Recreating this at the office might involve a bit of meal planning. Bring a filling, healthy lunch with you, but don’t eat it at your desk. Go to the cafeteria, find a table outside—even an empty office—and relax. It will help you return to your desk rejuvenated.
  4. Bring your home to work. “So often, offices are institutional looking,” says Weiss. “Pick out a few plants and pictures of family or places you love—anything that brings you joy—and put them on your desk. Having objects that remind you of home and outside can be really uplifting. Especially if it’s a picture of the outdoors, it will make you feel less like you’re trapped in a cubicle.”
  5. Establish a morning routine. We’ll admit that it’s much easier to make breakfast, sip your coffee and enjoy your morning when you don’t have to commute to the office. But have you noticed the calming effect it has on your mind? Let that be motivation to wake up with enough time to have a bit of “me time” before getting ready. “Plan ahead,” says Weiss. “If there’s something special you like for breakfast, prepare it ahead of time. One of my clients loves oatmeal. So they put it in the slow cooker the night before. In the morning, fresh oatmeal is waiting for them.”
  6. Change up your routine. Trying new things keeps us engaged and revitalized. “It sounds simple, but even something like going to the bathroom on a different floor or trying a different coffee drink can do the trick,” says Weiss. “Sometimes we go through the motions and our days become dull. By switching it up, we stay alert and tuned into the moment.”
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To make an appointment with a Henry Ford doctor or therapist, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-436-7936.

Jay Weiss, MA, LLP, is a certified health and wellness coach and an employee assistance program therapist at Henry Ford Health System. 

 

Categories: FeelWell