Ah, the work-from-home life. It’s not at all what you expected, is it? At first, you were probably excited for stress-free workdays: wearing sweatpants (or no pants), finally getting on top of your fitness regimen, answering work emails with your dog curled up beside you.
But alas, the expectations of working from home are usually a far, far cry from reality. Now that you’re no longer working in a physical office, things are completely different.
Your coworkers aren’t there to support you and laugh at your silly jokes. There is no happy hour to look forward to anymore. It’s just you, the dog and a never-ending barrage of emails that can’t possibly replace the feeling of face-to-face interactions.
If you’ve been feeling unmotivated and unproductive lately, rest assured that it’s completely normal. Working from home is a big adjustment for many of us. Still, that doesn’t mean you should twiddle your thumbs and hope the feeling will pass on its own. To help you overcome the dreaded work-from-home slump, here are a few tried and true tips to help you get your WFH mojo back.
Know Your Triggers
Have you stopped to consider why you might be having a work-from-home slump in the first place? A little self-evaluation can go a long way in helping you overcome the problem.
For some remote workers, a work slump is a result of feeling unmotivated, unfulfilled or bored. Others may be negatively affected by seasonal affective disorder, which causes symptoms of depression that come and go with the seasons. And for others still, the slump may be due to a recent failure. Pinpointing your triggers can help you come up with a suitable game plan to get out of your WFH rut.
Dress Like You’re Going to Work
We totally understand the temptation to stay in your pajamas all day. After all, no one is going to see you anyway, right? Leopard-print PJs for the win! Though it may sound amazing, there’s a strong case to be made for dressing in comfy casual clothing for remote work.
Wearing “real” clothes to your home office can help trigger your brain into work mode and give your day more structure. Plus, it just feels good to get dressed for the day. Whether you’re rocking a casual t-shirt and skinny jeans or a dress that gives off serious “boss babe” vibes, putting effort into your appearance can get your day off to a more productive start.
Revamp Your Workspace
Your workspace and surroundings can have a huge influence on your mood and productivity. And while everyone has different tastes in office décor, a good home office should always have four basic things: minimal distractions, a comfortable temperature, functional furniture and lots of natural light.
You need to enjoy the space you work in—otherwise, you’ll dread going to work for the day. If you’re looking for an easy way to refresh your space, try adding a plant or two to your home office.
Not only can plants improve the air quality in your home office, but they can also increase your happiness and productivity. Don’t have a green thumb? Try succulents or other plants that don’t require a lot of care. Orchids are beautiful plants that you don’t need to water often.
Strike a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Having a good work-life balance is key to your improving your happiness and overall sense of well-being, and this is especially true when you’re working from home. If you don’t take care to separate your work life from your personal life, your stress levels will spike, and your productivity will tank.
To prevent this from happening, be sure to keep regular working hours and set clear boundaries with your colleagues. Don’t send or answer emails outside of your work hours. Chances are, you’ll be much happier for it!
When you work from home, it’s all too easy to stay glued to your desk for hours on end. Not only is prolonged sitting terrible for your physical health, but it’s also not doing your mental health any favors. If you’re having one of those “blah,” workdays, try stepping away from your desk for some exercise.
Go for a jog, do yoga or jump rope for 10 minutes. If you’re super busy, take full advantage of your WFH dress code (which is to say, no dress code) by throwing on some cute athleisure wear that makes you feel good. That way, you’ll be ready to sneak in some exercise whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Give Yourself Something to Strive For
We all need something to strive for to get us through tough times. So, what are you looking forward to in life? Maybe it’s a vacation that you’re planning. Perhaps it’s ordering a chic headboard for your bedroom that you’ve been eyeing for ages.
It doesn’t really matter what it is, so long as the mere thought of it makes you happy and excited for the future. This will come in handy when you’re having a particularly rough day at work and need something to keep you moving forward.
Stay in Touch
Let’s face it: working remotely can be extremely isolating and lonely. Even when you’re in constant communication via email and Slack, it’s easy to feel completely disconnected from your colleagues.
If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to your colleagues and ask to meet up for drinks. If you can’t meet up with them in-person, schedule a video chat and share a drink together in the comfort of your own homes. Connecting with them outside of work can make you feel much better about your current situation and give you an extra boost of motivation.
Lastly, remember to be kind to yourself. Even if you LOVE working from home, you’re probably going to hit a work slump at some point in your career. Cut yourself some slack and know that the feeling will pass eventually. Don’t worry, you got this!