You might have been enthusiastic when COVID-19 first required you to #staysafe #stayhome and #savelives by working from home (WFH). Then, bam, you realised you’re lonely, iso-stressed, craving face-to-face meetings and simply not happy.

How do you maintain your mojo and transform your WFH experience from dull to shiny? Follow these tips.

Turn off the ‘always on’ mindset

WFH is no reason to work longer hours than you normally would. Sure ‘the office’ is within easy reach but resist wandering into your work space to get that extra bit done. Avoid ‘work creep’ by behaving as you would in the office. Even use an alarm to signal the end of your work day.

Control your social media

It’s too easy to waste time trawling through social media when WFH. It can be addicting and your boss isn’t around to catch you out. Turn off distracting notifications. Use mute. Set times for checking social media and stick to them.

Create a happy workplace

Not everyone has a separate ‘office’ at home—a quiet zone away from normal living spaces. If you don’t, do what you can to create a dedicated workplace and equip it with the tools you need to get the job done. Don’t mess this space with non-work stuff (except for a few personal items like photos or flowers). Spend a few minutes at the end of each day tidying your working environment so it’s neat, clean and ready to go the next morning.

Establish structure and set hours

Start work at the same time every day and end at the same time every day. When you’re WFH you’re your own manager and responsible for staying on schedule. Establish set morning, afternoon and lunch breaks to keep you watered, fed, energised and relaxed. Sticking your nose in the fridge every 10 minutes is tempting but not a great idea.

Organise your day and plan your work schedule

Organise 2 to 3 catch ups with team mates every day using Zoom, Skype of whatever technology your office has chosen. It’s important to stay connected.

Get dressed

Avoid working in your fav pjs. Your work rituals should include getting up, showered and dressed. You don’t have to wear business attire—smart casual will help prepare your mindset for work.

Avoid procrastinating

Lack of routine can be stressful while WFH and lead to procrastination. Next thing you know, half the day has zipped by and you haven’t achieved anything. This creates worry and stress.

Set regular work hours, create to-do lists (and review them to hold yourself accountable), establish and stick to break times, and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Consider using an online project management app, like Asana, Trello or Basecamp. Rely heavily on online calendars.

Reward yourself

Decide how to treat yourself after you’ve completed your to-do list. Take a walk around the block. Make something special for lunch. Listen to a bit of music. Do a happy dance. Play with the pets (but watch the time!). Celebrate the end of the work week with virtual happy hour drinks with colleagues or friends.

Cherish your mental health by connecting

WFH doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from the world. Use technology for virtual conversations with colleagues. Schedule these in so they happen (even morning and afternoon breaks). Catch up on what your colleagues have been up to. Have a few laughs.

Eat healthy and treat your body well

WFH gives you full access to the good stuff you have stashed in the kitchen. Research is clear—eating fruits and veggies is better for energy levels, productivity and the ability to think clearly than are sugar-loaded treats. Avoid drinking copious amounts of coffee of tea (water is good) and don’t drink alcohol during the day. Also take care of your physical health by getting fresh air, stretching, meditating, spending time with pets or the kids or whatever makes you tick.

Learn more about WFH

How to thrive while working from home

Working at home with tiny colleagues

Maximising productivity in self-isolation

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