Many of you need to work from home in order to have the flexibility required to pursue your sporting goals.
With a few simple rules, you can make sure you’re set up to do your best work remotely.
Follow our top tips to help you stay healthy and productive.
1. Be an athlete first
If you’re sitting at a desk for most of the day, you’ll be inactive for a while. Before starting your workday, take some time to do some form of physical activity. It doesn’t need to be strenuous, but something to kick-start your day will help you focus later on: perhaps a stretching session or a short walk. You will save a lot of time when you don’t have to commute to an office, so make good use of it!
2. Keep a routine
As an athlete, you’re used to keeping to demanding schedules. Working from home doesn’t need to be any different.Start your day by getting up and making your bed (it stops you from getting back into it and provides a sense of order). Get dressed, even if into sportswear or something comfortable. Try not to stay in bed or start working in your pyjamas – unless you’re sick. It’s not efficient, and you’ll end up with back and neck pain.
3. Get your nutrition right
When your workplace is only a short walk from the kitchen, it’s all too tempting to have breakfast while reading your emails. Resist the urge, and eat your meals without any work-related distractions. It’s more efficient when you do one thing at a time. Not only will this let you enjoy your meal more, but you will find it easier to focus on your work. You also avoid the risk of getting crumbs on the keyboard!
4. Set target times
Set a schedule for your workday. Start by giving yourself a planned start time, just as if you were going to an office or workplace, or your training environment. You can also incorporate slots for breaks and specific to-dos into your timetable.
A good technique is using the Pomodoro clock – here is an online version.
5. Find an appropriate space to work
First up: your sofa or bed is not recommended. If you can, work in a room that you don’t sleep or eat in; if not, use the dining or kitchen table and try to find the most ergonomic position you can. If you’re working from a laptop, consider connecting it to a larger screen, and change to a different type of table or chair from time to time; it’s a good way to avoid staying in the same position for long periods. If you are in the kitchen, make sure you move your computer/documents away during meal times so you’re not thinking about work.
6. Take short breaks
If you’re sat at a desk all day and not having to travel for work, you increase your risk of getting neck or back pain. Take regular, short active breaks during the day. Get up from your desk. Stretch. Maybe even plan a training session or test some new sports equipment.
7. Eat healthy snacks
With the kitchen so close, it can be easy to fall into bad eating habits. For when you can’t fight the urge, have some healthy options set aside. Just like you might if you were in training, setspecific times for your food breaks if possible.
8. Take a lunch break
Set a time for your lunch break, and don’t skip it! There’s always the temptation to finish “just one more task”, but you might find that you’ve gone the whole day without a break, and later on you will regret not having taken some time out. When you do, you will feel more energised for the rest of the day.
9. Be present
Avoid distractions, like turning on the TV while you work. If you live with others, it may take time for them to understand that you are there but not available as usual. If you have relatives or housemates around, ask them in advance to help you stay focused during your work time by not distracting you when possible. Remember, though, when you do take breaks, to stop working and be fully present. Without a commute you might find that you have more free time available, so remember to enjoy that and make the most of it by managing your work/life/training balance efficiently.
10. Close your workday
Without the need to leave your workplace, it’s all too easy to work late without realising it. It’s like over-training: while it may seem productive in the moment, it’s not. If you know you’ll struggle to keep to your set end time, find a reason to stop working: sign up to an online course, schedule a call with your coach or a team-mate, or plan to do some physical activity. Close your day, just like if you were leaving the office or finishing a training session. Try to ensure that you get time for you (and for others around you) before you end your day and go to bed. Get some fresh air if you can and, if you’re working on a computer, give your eyes a break from screens before you go to sleep.
11. Stay connected
If you live on your own, you might not speak with anyone for long periods. When relevant and applicable, consider swapping an email for a call. Some things are easier to communicate and understand when you speak, and it’s always nice to hear someone’s voice.
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