We are all well aware by now that working remotely or hybridly can be helpful when it comes to fostering a healthy work-life balance. However, working in this capacity often means a change in lifestyle and habits for many of us who have worked in an office environment for most of our careers. These changes can affect our mental and physical well-being, making it tough to become comfortable with working away from an office space.
We spoke to successful remote founders and business owners who have cracked the code when it comes to maintaining their well-being while working remotely and why it’s so important to do so.
“Wherever you work from when doing so remotely, it’s really important to keep the space clean and organized.” Says Josh Bluman the co-founder of JJ Suspenders. “Everyone has heard the saying ‘a clear space makes for a clear mind’. When you work from a place that is constantly cluttered, it makes it difficult to work at your full capacity. I find I am much more stressed in a cluttered environment because I can never find what I’m looking for and it poses a major distraction. Instead of focusing on my work, I start cleaning up or rummaging around my home office which wastes so much of my time.”
So how do you go about keeping your home office organized? “I have Sundays off so I use this time to do a total refresh of my office space. This means putting things back where they belong, making sure my desk is cleared of clutter and filing important documents. It doesn’t take a lot of time to do this, but it makes such a difference come Monday morning. I find I’m less stressed, less distracted and am able to start the work week off on a good note.”
Even as a founder you need to set some boundaries, suggests Alberto Palumbi, Owner of Premium Toners. “Setting boundaries with yourself and those around you is really important for your own mental well-being. Being accessible is important for your team, but if it cuts into your personal time, then you need to start setting boundaries and stick to them. Make sure your team is aware of the times you won’t be checking emails or answering calls and stick to your word. If you constantly break your own boundaries then you will truly never have a day off.
You also need to make sure you set boundaries for yourself and to shut off your computer and phone during the times you are not working. Hold yourself accountable and ensure that you are making time for self-care in these times that you’re offline. I like to go outside as much as possible for my self-care as it makes it easier to be away from your remote office and the guilt you feel at the start, begins to lessen over time the more you stick to your boundaries and wellness routines.”
“A routine is extremely important if you are working remotely,” says Matt Day, the owner of In Front Digital. “A routine is what helps you to stay organized, feel motivated and also helps you to ensure your well-being is taken care of. When you work remotely, you are responsible for your whole day, unlike working in an office where you have other coworkers and management to hold you accountable. A routine makes it easier to be your own boss in a sense and ensures you are completing your work, and also being mindful of your time.”
Day suggests writing your routine down and checking things off as you go. “When you are first beginning your journey into the remote work environment, it helps to write down your day from beginning to end. This allows you to be able to manage your time well and you don’t end up cutting into your personal time. It also helps you to form healthier habits and over time your routine can be modified to match your lifestyle.”
Day continues to say, “Staying active is a must when working remotely. Even if you had a desk job before, you tend to move more to talk to others, take a break and get a change of scenery. You need to keep this movement up when working from home as it can take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t. You don’t have to workout in the middle of the day, but just find small ways to get your body moving. It can make you feel less sluggish and increase your motivation.
Try to go for walks during your breaks or invest in a standing desk to increase your activity levels. Stretching periodically throughout the day is also helpful, so set a timer to remind yourself to stand and stretch.”
Something else you should be thinking about is your work from home attire. Wearing sweatpants when working from home is a thing of the past. You should pretend like you’re heading to an office even if you aren’t. This doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit, but a pair of pants with a nice dress shirt can make all the difference in how you feel. Even if you are working from home, you still want to mimic the same habits and professionalism you would have if you were heading into the office. Dressing the part can make you feel more confident and less sloppy which helps when it comes to increasing the quality of your output.
It’s a good idea to meal prep like you were heading to work too. This allows you to eat healthier and encourages you to take breaks which are important for your well-being even when you work from home.