General | March 4, 2021

Working From Home: Maintaining Routine

Dr Joel Hiney- Bachelor of Science (Clinical Sciences) and Master of Health Science (Osteopathy).

This has been one of the strangest years in our respective lifetimes. There have been a number of impacts on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. We have also seen a dramatic and sustained change in how we live and work. 

The audience for this blog is anyone who has seen their working habits change, but in particular the office workers who have had to turn some part of their home into a workstation/office. For many of us, the initial appeal of working from home has begun to wear thin. However, despite a move to a COVID-normal way of living, it seems that for many workplaces, working from home is here to stay.  

From an anecdotal point of view, the result of this lifestyle change has seen an increase in feelings of stress, tension and pressure that we have to live with and still function at work and in our personal lives.

This is a complex issue, and as such there are a number of things that we need to do to make our lives easier when working from home, one area of focus is our respective routines.

As humans, we thrive on routine and achieving goals. However, working from home can cause aspects of our normal routine to be relaxed or abandoned entirely. For example, on a typical work day you might get up, make your bed, shower, exercise, eat breakfast, engage in a skin care routine, get dressed, grab your prepared lunch, all making sure you are out of the house by 8am to get to work on time. 

However, working from home affords you some allowances, you don’t have a commute so why not wake up later than normal and lie in bed a little longer. Nobody can smell you, so why not skip the shower. You’re a bit lethargic, so you don’t feel like exercising this morning. Not feeling hungry, might just have a coffee instead of breakfast. There’s no point getting dressed because you don’t have any zoom calls today, so nobody will see you. There’s no point preparing lunch because you can just snack on something when you get hungry. 

Gradually, you lose aspects of your routine until you have no identifiable routine at all. I’m not saying that you should start wearing a suit to your home office or strut around your house in your work heels, but there is certainly something to be gained from trying to restore some order to your daily routine. For example:

  • Preparing your lunch and snacks the night before and scheduling a regular lunch break that your colleagues are aware of – perhaps even scheduling a lunchtime walking catch up over the phone or zoom.
  • Making a weekly home exercise schedule that offers variety and movement throughout the day – if you need some inspiration, see our other blog on home workouts: A Shift In Mindset – The Positives From Working Out At Home
  • Laying out your clothes the night before, even if it’s track pants and a T-shirt – just make sure they’re clean.
  • Rather than pushing through your normal morning coffee/tea run, head outside on the back-step, on your balcony or in the garden with your tea/coffee and have a quick call with a colleague.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and there are a number of other things that you can do to help with the stressors of working from home.

If you would like any further help or advice, make an appointment with one of our talented osteopaths at Western Region Health where we can provide treatment for your work-related tension, home-office ergonomic assessments or provide advice about other services which might help you.