Working from home has a lot of big benefits, like allowing you to wear pyjamas to work or catch up on all seven seasons of Mad Men while pumping out deliverables from your living room.
From a certain point of view, there’s no better way to work. Who needs cubicles and office Roombas when you have your favourite couch and pet cat Jasper?
However, working from home isn’t perfect for everyone and has some huge pitfalls if you let certain bad habits become norms in your daily routine.
Here are the five biggest bad habits to break when working from home:
1. Indulging distractions
This one’s an absolute killer; virtually everyone struggles with avoiding distractions. Heck, I’m struggling with it right now.
Every ten sentences or so, I stop writing to change the song queued up on YouTube. Could I create a playlist to remedy this issue? Sure. But it’s not about that — I leave my in-progress document simply because I can. It’s not about the thing I escape to (in this case, YouTube), it’s just about the fact I can escape. I’ve become the dog who’s caught its own tail.
People can get distracted while they’re on their computer in an office too, but it’s a lot easier to do so from the comfort of your living room where there’s no threat of bosses sneaking up behind you. You’re effectively invincible in your home.
Don’t let that get to your head, though. You need to focus! If not for the benefit of your work, then just to avoid developing an unhealthily short attention span.
2. Ignoring nutrition
With a lack of co-workers around you running out of the office to grab lunch, it’s easy to forget to eat properly during the work day.
Skipping meals and not drinking enough water is a major bad habit of working from home. You need to stay well fed — but not too fed (it’s easy to graze on chips all day when working from home).
Monitor your diet during the work day so you don’t become someone with unhealthy eating habits.
3. Forgoing formalities
Working from home means a lack of physical contact with co-workers. This will naturally result in a transformation of your social behaviours, though the degree of change is different for everyone.
Make sure you catch yourself if you start developing bad habits like being testier, snippier, or more obnoxious since it’s easier to “get away with” being difficult when working remotely.
4. Letting work and personal spaces overlap
I myself am struggling miserably to break this habit. The idea is that you shouldn’t let your, say, bedroom also become your home office. You need to separate working rooms from relaxation rooms for sake of having a place to escape to when work becomes too much to deal with.
Sadly, I’m in the habit of bringing my work laptop with me to all my personal spaces. My bed, my couch, my favourite chair — you name it. Work has infected every corner of my home! Don’t let this habit take root in your life.
5. Letting work and life itself overlap
Closely linked to the previous habit, here’s another major one to avoid: becoming addicted to work.
With no office to physically clock out of, it can be easy to check work emails at odd hours and get started on job tasks at 1am when you just can’t fall asleep. None of this is healthy.
Not only will your home become your office, but your life itself will become permanently infected with job thoughts.
You need to have separate spaces — and dedicated stopping times — to ensure your home doesn’t transform into a paycheque-pumping cell.
Avoid bad habits when working from home
The bad habits listed above are all incredibly hard to break when working from home, and I’m still grappling with the majority on this list, as I’ve been for years.
Undoing them is borderline impossible once they’ve taken root, so do yourself a favour and don’t adopt such habits in the first place!
This article was originally published on The Ladders.