Millions of Americans work from home. And with technology improvements and an increase in flexible working options, more and more companies are open to it.
Currently, more people than ever are working from home due to social distancing efforts.
Whether you’re a veteran at it or new to working from home, there are some dos and don’ts to consider.
Another thing to consider is the health impact of working a short walk from your kitchen. Some people may find themselves taking a few too many breaks due to the proximity of their favorite snacks. On the other end of the spectrum, some may be so focused that they forget to eat all day.
In this article, we will go over some tips on how to maximize productivity when working from home, plus offer some healthy low-carb snack options that will give your brain and body the steady fuel it needs for a busy day at the “office.”
Tips for Working From Home
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
Wake up at the same time and go to sleep at the same time each day. Stick to your regular morning routine as much as possible. This can include getting dressed (even if it’s workout clothes), making coffee, and eating breakfast. If you want to sleep in a little due to not having to get ready and drive to work, that’s fine, but try to set your alarm for the same time every day and be ready to work at your usual time.
It’s important to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is critical for mental and physical health. A lack of sleep can hurt your immune system and impact your ability to think clearly and perform at your best [*].
Schedule your day
Whether you do it for the whole week or day by day, it’s good to schedule out your day. This should include not only snacks and meals, but also activity. It’s good for your body and your brain to get up and walk around every hour or so.
Create a home office
Having a dedicated work space will boost productivity and help you separate work from home life. This can be especially helpful outside of normal business hours. For example, if you work at the dining table, it may be more difficult to stop working during your meals.
This may not always be possible, especially if you and your significant other are both working from home. But try your best to have dedicated work areas with minimal distractions.
This leads us to our next tip.
Eat meals away from your home office
Whenever possible, it’s better to have breakfast and lunch away from your desk. This allows you to be more mindful about eating, which minimizes overeating. It also gives your mind a break and allows it to recharge while fueling up.
Stay hydrated and watch caffeine consumption
Most of us enjoy a cup or two of coffee in the morning at the office. When you work from home, you may be tempted to make a huge pot of coffee vs just the one you normally drink on your way to work. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400mg of caffeine a day appears to be safe, which is about four cups of brewed coffee [*].
Staying hydrated is important whether you’re at the office or at home. The general rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. However, your water needs will vary depending on factors such as age, gender, and activity level [*].
Drinking water helps you perform better physically and mentally. Being dehydrated can negatively impact energy levels and cognitive function. Feeling thirsty can cause headaches, make you feel tired, and impair your focus and concentration [*].
When working from home, keep a water bottle next to you so you can sip it throughout the day (water bottles minimize messes in case you spill or it gets knocked over). Trust us on this one.
Take regular breaks
For some people, taking regular breaks comes naturally. Others may need to set an alarm every hour or two as a reminder.
A break can be as simple as going to the kitchen to refill your water, to doing a 5-minute workout. Some exercises you can easily do at home include push-ups, squats, and planks. Tip: when you’re on a phone call, walk around instead of staying seated.
Get fresh air
It’s important to go outside and get some fresh air every day. Many Americans do not get enough vitamin D, which is something you can get from spending time in the sun. Just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure a day can be beneficial.
Sunlight exposure improves vitamin D levels, which can boost serotonin, the so-called “happy chemical” because it’s associated with happiness. Serotonin can also improve sleep quality, regulate appetite, and support cognitive functions, such as memory and learning [*].
Take advantage of technology
Working from home can be lonely. Instead of solely relying on email, take advantage of video conference apps, like Zoom. Video chatting can help you be more efficient, plus allow you an opportunity to socialize and connect with your coworkers.
Have healthy snacks on hand
When working from home full-time, it’s even more important to have a stash of healthy good-for-you snacks.
Sticking to low-carb unprocessed options are the best for providing satiation and steady energy. Low-carb high-fat snacks may be even better because fat can keep you fuller longer, which means you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Snacking on refined carbs (processed carbs) is not recommended. Examples include potato chips, pita chips, cookies, and crackers. They contain very few nutrients [*].
Eating empty carbs can lead to blood sugar spikes. It does not keep you satiated and when your blood sugar falls, it can lead to cravings, which in turn leads to overeating and eventual weight gain [*].
Low-carb snack options at home
These are some of our favorite healthy low-carb snacks that can help keep you fueled for a full day of working from home.
- Cheese: string cheese, fresh mozzarella, cottage cheese
- Full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- Low-carb vegetables: broccoli, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery
- Berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
- Nut butters: macadamia, almond, peanut, cashew
- Meat sticks: pork, beef, turkey, bison
- Cheese crisps: 100% cheddar, Parmesan
- Nuts: macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios
- Bone broth: beef, chicken
Stay productive and healthy when working from home
It might seem daunting at first, but if you have a plan in place and a healthy supply of nutritious snacks and meals, you’ll be well prepared to take on all of your professional responsibilities at home.