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Working from home is harder than it looks — here are 13 ways to keep yourself sane if you work remotely


By Sharon Feiereisen, Business Insider

  • While working from home or getting to travel for work has obvious benefits, it isn't all PJs and mid-day workout sessions.
  • In reality, working remotely requires discipline and can come with its share of loneliness.
  • Here are experts' top tips for keeping yourself sane if you work remotely.

More than 40% of Americans work remotely for at least part of the year, according to a recent poll.

And whether they're freelancing from home or traveling across the country for their job, remote workers are expected to make up more than half of the US workforce by 2027, according to one recent report.

While working from home or getting to travel has obvious benefits, from the lack of a dress code to the ability to save money on commuting, working remotely isn't all PJs and mid-day workout sessions.

In reality, working remotely requires discipline and can come with its share of loneliness.

We reached out to several professionals who work remotely to get their firsthand insight on how they manage to stay afloat in their unique work setups.

Here are their top tips to keeping yourself sane if you work remotely.


Have a dedicated work space


"Running a real estate brokerage in Miami, there are certainly a lot of distractions that can take you away from work," Mikael Hamaoui, president at Riviera Horizons Realty, told Business Insider. 

"I have a dedicated area in my home that is for work only. I think it's critical to separate work from personal or it's too easy to find yourself on the couch watching TV. It's imperative that anyone working from home create a dedicated work space that is free of distractions so you can stay in work mode even when you're at home - and try not to go to your home office outside of working hours and vice versa to really keep that separation."


Take breaks that involve social interactions


"I've found it key to take breaks during the day and have some sort of social interaction," Susan Davis, a sales director, told Business Insider.

"On days where I stay inside the whole day for work calls and activities, I find it hard to adjust to social interactions after work. I'm most productive if I take breaks, even if it's just taking a break to walk to my favorite coffee shop where I know the baristas. I'm always happier at the end of the day if I had some sort of social interaction."


Don't eat lunch — or dinner — at your desk


"Take lunch breaks and avoid the urge to eat at your desk," Davis said. "Even if you're eating alone, make it special. Eat at a table and eat mindfully." It's important to remember that we function better when we make nutrition and mental well-being a priority.

Hamaoui echoed this sentiment. "Getting out of the house is really big: you have to do things outside of the house; you can't just transition from a full day of work at home, to then right back home when you're done with work - get out of the house and schedule after-work drinks or dinners."


Have a schedule


"The thing that keeps me sane while working remotely is having a set schedule," Kara Luton, an engineer at CrowdStrike, told Business Insider. "I wake up at the same time every day, jump in the shower, and get ready just like I would if I was going to an office."


Enjoy your surroundings


"I make sure to maintain a great work-life balance while on the road, in the air, or abroad," Kiara Horwitz, CEO and founder of the PR firm KHPR, Inc., told Business Insider. 

"When I work remotely I continue to take time to breathe, relax, enjoy my surroundings, and take personal breaks when needed. No one is dying (thankfully) in my industry, and if I need an hour to clear my head, I do so."


Manage clients' expectations


"I set parameters around my work/life balance before I bring a client on board," Horwitz said. "If I'm working remotely and there is a change in time zone I always alert my clients that I'm traveling and make sure they know when I'm able to answer emails, texts, or calls - this helps to manage expectations."


Get dressed as if you're going to a meeting


"I know how much fun it is to hang out in athleisure or pajamas all day because I did it for years, but when I started getting dressed, a strange thing happened," Lindsay Anvik, keynote speaker and business coach told Business Insider. "Because I was prepared to have a last minute meeting, coffee, or video chat, my business saw the benefits."

She continued: "Before, I would turn down last minute lunches or meetings because I literally wasn't dressed, and by 2 p.m. it's hard to find the motivation to change for one thing. Don't get me wrong, I still wear slippers around the house, and will sometimes throw on a college sweatshirt instead of a button down blouse, but if I need to, I can be out the door in five minutes. Hair is blown dry and makeup is done. I feel put together because I am together."


Work in another place at least once a week


"Go to a coffee shop, a library, a restaurant, or a friend's office, and work there," Anvik said. "This not only leads to the chance of meeting someone and networking, but it gives you some inspiration. It provides something new to look at and new environments help breed creativity."


Develop a workout routine


"Unless my body is begging me not to, I go to the gym every morning before I begin work," Daniel Berkowitz, founder of AuthorPop, a digital consultancy for authors, told Business Insider. "It's a great way to get some natural energy and it gives me a sense of accomplishment before I dig into my to-do list." 

Not a morning person? Others, like Sarah Segal, co-founder of Voorhees Segal Communications, find that having something active scheduled for the end of the day helps too.

"Sometimes that means a dog walk and other times it means taking a ballroom dancing class at the end of a long day."


Do chores to break up your day


"When you've worked for an hour or so, empty the dishwasher or take out the trash. It's the equivalent of going to your coworker's office," Anvik said.

Berkowitz also said he likes doing this because even if he's not leaving his apartment, accomplishing a task, even if it's a relatively small one, allows him to feel a sense of accomplishment and refocuses his brain.


Call people


"I know a lot of people hate talking on the phone, but guess what? You work in your home. You may not get a ton of interaction," Anvik said. "Socializing is important to connect with clients, preventing feelings of isolation and having someone to talk to besides your dog."


Start your morning by grounding yourself


"It's important to have a morning ritual that helps you gain focus and clarity about your goals for that day," Serena Poon, a leading chef and nutritionist, told Business Insider. "I start mine with meditation, my gratitude list, and affirmative thoughts before I get out of bed."


Set alarms to move


"I set alarms for 10 to 15 minute breaks to move, to stretch, to get fresh air, and disconnect from tech devices," Poon said. "When you're focused and in the flow of working, it's easy to let hours pass by before moving from your laptop. Reminders to take breaks to connect with yourself are just as important as reminders for important calls or tasks."



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Home Magazine: Working from home is harder than it looks — here are 13 ways to keep yourself sane if you work remotely
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