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Published: 23/03/2020

Over the last month, COVID-19 has triggered the mass migration of workers from the comfort of their well-heated office blocks to the isolation of their respective homes.

With shared toilet facilities, cozy trips in the lift and numerous virus-harboring door handles to contend with, office environments provide the ideal breeding ground for germs and in these testing times pose a real threat to the health of entire workforces.

In the hope of preventing transmission, thousands of employees have wisely retreated to their homes, wide-screen monitors and swivel chairs in tow.

Working remotely however isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and can present a real challenge for those not accustomed to it. With this in mind, here are some top tips for establishing healthy home-working habits.

Get dressed
Wallowing in a dressing gown all day isn’t a good look and will do nothing for your working mindset. There’s no need for a trouser suit and cuff-links but a little pride in your personal appearance can go a long way. The process of getting dressed also helps to create a distinction between your home and working life.

Create a designated office space
Having a separate study at home is a luxury most of us can sadly not afford. It’s still possible however to establish a good separation between your working space and the rest of your home. Choose a spot and stick to it. Bedrooms are off limits; the space you sleep in should remain a sanctuary reserved solely for relaxation. The kitchen table is always good option if you don’t have a desk elsewhere.

Build a biscuit barrier
With no-one to monitor and judge our every mouthful, we’re reliant on will power alone to prevent our constant grazing throughout the day. If you’re struggling to keep out of the cupboards, try placing more obstacles and distance between you and the snacks. Move them upstairs or somewhere far away. Writing the calorie content on the packet with a marker pen can also help to quash temptation.

Don’t forget to move
With no daily commute, no trips to the 4th floor stationery cupboard and no colleagues to visit at their desks, the working day suddenly becomes even more sedentary. Regular movement can help to reset both your mood and your posture. Set an hourly reminder on your phone to get up and get active. Run up and down the stairs a couple of times, do a lap of the garden or, if you’re swamped, simply stand up and stretch a little. You can also use the time you save on your usual commute for an hour’s exercise later on.

Define your hours
Your work life shouldn’t blend into your home life. There needs to be a strict and distinct line between the two. Set rigid working hours and when you log out for the evening, turn off all notifications.

Take breaks
You may not take many breaks in the office but working in a room full of people inevitably leads to distraction; you aren’t productive 100% of the time. Without those brief chats in the corridor or coffee machine catch ups, it can be easy to burn out at home. To avoid this, be sure to escape your screen every now and then. You could even call up a colleague; they’ll surely appreciate the social contact just as much as you.

It’s a difficult time for us all but working from home is one thing many can do to help protect themselves, their colleagues and their families while COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to health. For those taking their first fledgling steps into the realm of remote working, the above advice should help you to set up a healthy routine and make the most of the time away from the office.

Disclaimer: The views thoughts and opinions expressed within this article are those of the author, and not those of any company within the Capital International Group (CIG) and as such are neither given nor endorsed by CIG. Information in this article does not constitute investment advice or an offer or an invitation by or on behalf of any company within the Capital International Group of companies to buy or sell any product or security.