5 Tips for Home Productivity and Mental Health

Andy Charters
.
August 18, 2023
Productivity

Before Covid-19 hit, working from home was often considered more of a luxury than a necessity. The thought of not having to get out of bed too early or having to brave against morning traffic was like a breath of fresh air. Flash forward to present times and working solely from home has proven to come with its own unique set of challenges. The major ones include staying productive and positive minded.

Seeing as remote work may very well here for a while for people in many sectors, especially for remote software developers, the way forward is to engage strategies to optimise and cope. Cloud Employee has been in the remote staffing space for many years. Here are 5 tips you can employ to remain productive and mentally healthy while you work from home.

1. Take designated break times and enforce routine

When working from home, there is no one there to police your work, or your break times. It is incredibly easy to get carried away and simply power through tasks just because you can. Will you get your work done in record time? Sure, but you will end up burning out before you know it. It's not just about taking some time off to scroll through your Instagram page, it's even more important to stretch, walk around and soak up some sunshine if there's any. Especially if your work is mostly sedentary, it is easy to forget to move your body for days at a stretch.

So, take about thirty minutes to walk your dog, or take a stroll around your house. It does not just benefit your physical health, your mental faculties will equally benefit. On days where going outside is not much of an option, look for other things to do with your time. Sit down to an energy-boosting lunch, or people-watch through your window till it is time to get back to work. Either way, you should not power through work to the point that you burn out.

Most importantly, give yourself a designated break time because giving structure to your day will help you keep your wits about you in the long run.



2. Look for new and different ways to socialise

Now that we’ve come to realise that remote working will play a more regular part in many of our futures, we have to ask ourselves how else can we go about socialising. At first, you may savor the fact that you are all on your own and able to focus with less distractions. Honestly, it is sometimes hard to get through the workday when one juicy conversation comes up, or you are involved in some office drama. Nevertheless, working from home can actually drown out all the noise. With all your colleagues safely tucked away in their own homes you will probably get a lot of work done.

You are already probably thinking about how much you'll get done without the usual watercooler gossip and fun right? However there is just something about working closely with other people that energizes.

Considering the times, you may not be able to work in the midst of other people, but thanks to a handy thing called technology you can keep in touch with your colleagues, and in real-time too.

Some simple social interaction is enough to alleviate any feelings or loneliness that may creep in while you are alone. At Cloud Employee we are implementing initiatives such as ‘blind networking’ where we randomly connect our developers over Zoom breakout rooms so that they can have a 10 minute one-on-one to build connections.

We have also been rolling our ‘Brown bag’ lunch sessions where different teammates speak passionately about a technical skill or interest they have so that others can listen in, learn and ask questions.

Engaging regularly with others helps us get through the tough times together. You should be able to alleviate any stress or boredom by talking to someone else who is in the same position. Just be proactive and try not to detach yourself from the outside world too much, it will end up hurting your work in the long run.



3. Set clear boundaries

Unless you live alone, there's a chance that you will have family members streaming in and out of your workspace. It is even worse when you don't have an actual home office to hide away from 9-5. The great thing is that you don't have to have a whole room to yourself to get stuff done and to pass a message across.

For instance, you could use a visual symbol so your family members or housemates know exactly when you don't want to be disturbed. It could be anything from a closed-door to a red cloth hanging on a chair. All you have to do is to ensure that members of your household know the sign, do not passive-aggressively leave crumbs because no one is a mind reader.

You can take it a step further by creating an actual workspace for yourself. Whenever the members of your household see you in there it should be evident that you do not want to be disturbed. Again, it does not have to be an office space, it could equally be a spot on your dining table. Just set up your system and put some documents down, or go all out and personalize the space. That way, everyone in your household will know that it is in a no-go area.

Finally, there is no better boundary than your attitude, try not to let people get away with slipping into your space unless it is an emergency. As per human nature, they will just keep doing it because they know you condone it. Be firm, polite and lay down the law.

4. Do not let technology distract you

With social media and all the crazy news flying around, it is easy to get distracted during your work hours. Deciding to watch one video on Youtube can waste your time, especially if you are still at it twenty videos down the line. It is a good idea to keep the tabs at a minimal level so you do not get tempted to delve into the numerous issues of the day. Rather, it is important to use technology to your advantage.

Besides, keeping the tabs to a minimum, also delete all those social media bookmarks and shortcuts because that can lead you down another rabbit hole. The key is to cleanse your work laptop and keep all distractions at bay. That way you will remain productive and work will not seem like such a huge hassle. Also, sign out of your social media accounts during work hours so you do not stand the risk of getting lost in all the clutter.

Learn how to leverage technology for your own good, for instance, you can use it to set timers to know how long you stay on a task. You can also try to beat your previous time while you are at it. You can equally look for time management tools that will help you get through without a hassle, altogether you can use technology to your advantage.

At Cloud Employee we have virtual weekly guided meditation classes to support our team. Switching off and clearing the mind has multiple proven benefits when it comes to productivity and reduction of anxiety.

5. Plan your meals diligently

Being at home opens you up to a truckload of temptation, the major one is all the time you will have to rummage your fridge and explore all your take out menus. Seeing as these are stressful times, it is easy to get depressed and lose yourself in food. Eating your emotions has become the order of the day especially when the boredom comes in.

For your physical and mental health, it is important to practise some restraint by creating a structured meal plan. Besides the issue of self-control, this prevents you from working so hard that you do not remember to pause for a snack or meal. Yes, forgetting to eat is a legitimate excuse to skip all your meals and binge at the end of the day.

Even more, try your best not to eat at your workstation. Why? Well, for one, you need to have a designated workspace so you do not associate food with work since you are subconsciously programmed to do so. To top it all off, it is important to look for food that boosts your memory and stimulates your cognitive abilities. Items like eggs, dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds can get you where you need to be. For your own good, it is a great idea to steer clear of any carbonated drinks, starchy foods and junk.

In Conclusion

The main point is that working from home is not always easy. As mentioned earlier, working from home comes with its own unique set of challenges. But seeing as it may not be a fleeting phenomenon it is important to look for ways to optimise how we do.

Self-care while working at home is what will keep you grounded even when things are a bit too busy for comfort. We hope you got a few take-aways from this article, altogether, working from home can be great and it helps putting in the tools in place to ensure it stays that way.

We hope you found this article useful. Here at Cloud Employee, we pride ourselves on being a supportive and cutting edge workplace continuously investing in staff development, engagement and well-being check out our Careers Page to watch videos, find out more and submit your CV if your would like to join our community

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Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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Full-Stack Developer

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

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Full Stack .Net Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineering teams and grow their CV and skill-set.We pride ourselves on being a supportive and cutting-edge workplace that continuously invests in staff development, engagement, and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

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Full-Stack Node/VueJS Developer (Mid - Senior)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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Full-Stack PHP Developer (Mid to Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer Tech Lead

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

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Full stack RoR/VueJS Developer

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Fullstack Developer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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Lead/Senior Frontend Developer (UI/UX) - Brazil

Cloud Employee is a UK-owned business established eight years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent worldwide with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines and Brazil as part of international engineering teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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Marketing Specialists

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Backend Developer (Python)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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Senior Full-Stack PHP Developer

Cloud Employee is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineering teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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5 Tips for Home Productivity and Mental Health

February 16, 2024

Before Covid-19 hit, working from home was often considered more of a luxury than a necessity. The thought of not having to get out of bed too early or having to brave against morning traffic was like a breath of fresh air. Flash forward to present times and working solely from home has proven to come with its own unique set of challenges. The major ones include staying productive and positive minded.

Seeing as remote work may very well here for a while for people in many sectors, especially for remote software developers, the way forward is to engage strategies to optimise and cope. Cloud Employee has been in the remote staffing space for many years. Here are 5 tips you can employ to remain productive and mentally healthy while you work from home.

1. Take designated break times and enforce routine

When working from home, there is no one there to police your work, or your break times. It is incredibly easy to get carried away and simply power through tasks just because you can. Will you get your work done in record time? Sure, but you will end up burning out before you know it. It's not just about taking some time off to scroll through your Instagram page, it's even more important to stretch, walk around and soak up some sunshine if there's any. Especially if your work is mostly sedentary, it is easy to forget to move your body for days at a stretch.

So, take about thirty minutes to walk your dog, or take a stroll around your house. It does not just benefit your physical health, your mental faculties will equally benefit. On days where going outside is not much of an option, look for other things to do with your time. Sit down to an energy-boosting lunch, or people-watch through your window till it is time to get back to work. Either way, you should not power through work to the point that you burn out.

Most importantly, give yourself a designated break time because giving structure to your day will help you keep your wits about you in the long run.



2. Look for new and different ways to socialise

Now that we’ve come to realise that remote working will play a more regular part in many of our futures, we have to ask ourselves how else can we go about socialising. At first, you may savor the fact that you are all on your own and able to focus with less distractions. Honestly, it is sometimes hard to get through the workday when one juicy conversation comes up, or you are involved in some office drama. Nevertheless, working from home can actually drown out all the noise. With all your colleagues safely tucked away in their own homes you will probably get a lot of work done.

You are already probably thinking about how much you'll get done without the usual watercooler gossip and fun right? However there is just something about working closely with other people that energizes.

Considering the times, you may not be able to work in the midst of other people, but thanks to a handy thing called technology you can keep in touch with your colleagues, and in real-time too.

Some simple social interaction is enough to alleviate any feelings or loneliness that may creep in while you are alone. At Cloud Employee we are implementing initiatives such as ‘blind networking’ where we randomly connect our developers over Zoom breakout rooms so that they can have a 10 minute one-on-one to build connections.

We have also been rolling our ‘Brown bag’ lunch sessions where different teammates speak passionately about a technical skill or interest they have so that others can listen in, learn and ask questions.

Engaging regularly with others helps us get through the tough times together. You should be able to alleviate any stress or boredom by talking to someone else who is in the same position. Just be proactive and try not to detach yourself from the outside world too much, it will end up hurting your work in the long run.



3. Set clear boundaries

Unless you live alone, there's a chance that you will have family members streaming in and out of your workspace. It is even worse when you don't have an actual home office to hide away from 9-5. The great thing is that you don't have to have a whole room to yourself to get stuff done and to pass a message across.

For instance, you could use a visual symbol so your family members or housemates know exactly when you don't want to be disturbed. It could be anything from a closed-door to a red cloth hanging on a chair. All you have to do is to ensure that members of your household know the sign, do not passive-aggressively leave crumbs because no one is a mind reader.

You can take it a step further by creating an actual workspace for yourself. Whenever the members of your household see you in there it should be evident that you do not want to be disturbed. Again, it does not have to be an office space, it could equally be a spot on your dining table. Just set up your system and put some documents down, or go all out and personalize the space. That way, everyone in your household will know that it is in a no-go area.

Finally, there is no better boundary than your attitude, try not to let people get away with slipping into your space unless it is an emergency. As per human nature, they will just keep doing it because they know you condone it. Be firm, polite and lay down the law.

4. Do not let technology distract you

With social media and all the crazy news flying around, it is easy to get distracted during your work hours. Deciding to watch one video on Youtube can waste your time, especially if you are still at it twenty videos down the line. It is a good idea to keep the tabs at a minimal level so you do not get tempted to delve into the numerous issues of the day. Rather, it is important to use technology to your advantage.

Besides, keeping the tabs to a minimum, also delete all those social media bookmarks and shortcuts because that can lead you down another rabbit hole. The key is to cleanse your work laptop and keep all distractions at bay. That way you will remain productive and work will not seem like such a huge hassle. Also, sign out of your social media accounts during work hours so you do not stand the risk of getting lost in all the clutter.

Learn how to leverage technology for your own good, for instance, you can use it to set timers to know how long you stay on a task. You can also try to beat your previous time while you are at it. You can equally look for time management tools that will help you get through without a hassle, altogether you can use technology to your advantage.

At Cloud Employee we have virtual weekly guided meditation classes to support our team. Switching off and clearing the mind has multiple proven benefits when it comes to productivity and reduction of anxiety.

5. Plan your meals diligently

Being at home opens you up to a truckload of temptation, the major one is all the time you will have to rummage your fridge and explore all your take out menus. Seeing as these are stressful times, it is easy to get depressed and lose yourself in food. Eating your emotions has become the order of the day especially when the boredom comes in.

For your physical and mental health, it is important to practise some restraint by creating a structured meal plan. Besides the issue of self-control, this prevents you from working so hard that you do not remember to pause for a snack or meal. Yes, forgetting to eat is a legitimate excuse to skip all your meals and binge at the end of the day.

Even more, try your best not to eat at your workstation. Why? Well, for one, you need to have a designated workspace so you do not associate food with work since you are subconsciously programmed to do so. To top it all off, it is important to look for food that boosts your memory and stimulates your cognitive abilities. Items like eggs, dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds can get you where you need to be. For your own good, it is a great idea to steer clear of any carbonated drinks, starchy foods and junk.

In Conclusion

The main point is that working from home is not always easy. As mentioned earlier, working from home comes with its own unique set of challenges. But seeing as it may not be a fleeting phenomenon it is important to look for ways to optimise how we do.

Self-care while working at home is what will keep you grounded even when things are a bit too busy for comfort. We hope you got a few take-aways from this article, altogether, working from home can be great and it helps putting in the tools in place to ensure it stays that way.

We hope you found this article useful. Here at Cloud Employee, we pride ourselves on being a supportive and cutting edge workplace continuously investing in staff development, engagement and well-being check out our Careers Page to watch videos, find out more and submit your CV if your would like to join our community

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