The home working boom has revolutionised the way that people do their jobs all over the world. The coronavirus pandemic has upended the conventional way of doing things, and it looks like that might be here to stay. Many of the world’s largest employers are getting rid of surplus office space in favour of more flexible working options. In fact, a survey from Work In Mind found that 35 per cent of companies are planning on downsizing their office space in 2021.

The benefits of home working are clear. Employees have more free time, they can stay on top of chores on their breaks, save money, and experience a more flexible working life. However, there are obvious downsides too. Teams feel less connected, some find it hard to separate work and home life, and many people are doing less exercise than they used to. For that reason, taking care of yourself is more important than ever, and in this article, I will go over some of the best ways to do that.

Take time to switch off

One big criticism of working from home is that many employees feel as though they are ‘always on’. According to the Office for National Statistics, those working from home did two-thirds more unpaid overtime in comparison to those who travelled to a workplace and were also more likely to work after 6pm. For this reason, taking the time to wind down after work and making some time for yourself can be all the more important.

There are many ways to do this. Some have an after work ritual, that signifies the end of the working day and allows them to put work worries to the back of their minds. This could be as simple as having a cup of tea, right down to practising meditation. The key here is finding out what works for you, because the same tricks won’t always work for everyone.

Put your health first

Taking time to switch off mentally is important, but equally taking care of yourself physically can make working from home more comfortable. Many people find that they are, understandably, doing less exercise now that they work from home. It’s much more difficult to get your 10,000 steps in when the longest distance you travel before work ends is from your bedroom to your workspace. One study found that when working from home, 20 per cent of people reported increased alcohol consumption, 33 per cent found they were eating a less healthy diet and 60 per cent of people said they were exercising less.

For that reason, using your free time to exercise is more important than ever. If you’re a morning person, use the time you save by not commuting to get a workout in before you start your day. Some find that exercising on their lunch break also helps break up the day and make them feel more energised.

While keeping fit is important, it is only a small part of your overall health. Working from home is an opportunity for you to get your diet in check too. You can eat healthy meals throughout the day, but you must be careful not to let the overabundance of food at your disposal become a negative habit. Try to avoid excessive snacking, however tempting it might be with the fridge a few feet away.

Look after your finances

A great benefit of home working is that you are able to save money on expenses such as commuting or buying lunch. However, a lot of the stress of life in general comes down to money woes. 77 per cent of Americans report feeling anxious about their financial situation. Thankfully, it has never been easier to take control of your personal finances.

You can use apps to help you budget, such as Mint, which was created by Aaron Patzer to help people control their finances using AI, which he believes is “an enabler”. However, there are plenty of other options on the market, such as Dhani, which was founded by Sameer Gehlaut to provide personal loans and other financial services through user’s smartphones. These are just two examples, but there are scores of others on the market. Much like post-work rituals, the right solution is personal. Try out lots of different things before deciding on what works for you.

Keeping track of what you spend has never been easier, and you can use some of the free time that working from home offers to better plan out where your money goes every month.

Reconnect with your team

Another difficult aspect of working from home is trying to keep a positive team culture. In an office environment, it’s easy to keep up with the social aspect of work. You can go out for lunches with other members of your team, speak to each other in the break room and even go out for drinks after work. At home, this is much more difficult, so you must make a concerted effort to stay in touch with other members of your company.

Regular in-person meetups help with this, including social events for team building. Likewise, phone or video calls also help to stay in touch and foster the same camaraderie that can easily be achieved at the office. This is an important part of feeling like you work for a company, rather than a group of separate freelancers all at home.

As you can see, the upsides to working from home are clear, but the downsides can really creep in if you aren’t careful. However, if you take time to switch off, look after your physical and mental health, take care of your finances and learn to foster some team spirit, then you and your company can reap the rewards.