One thing you might find by working from home is often your energy levels are down. Of course, this also happens when you work in an office too.
But when it comes to working from where you live, sometimes it’s easier to feel tired or unmotivated. And it can sneak up on you over time, hurting your productivity and making you appear lazy.
So what can you do? There are a few simple, but important tips you can apply to increase your energy levels when working from home.
How to Increase Your Energy Working from Home
Burnout is a very real problem in the workplace. This happens in all forms of work and even remote work.
In fact, in one survey conducted by TinyPulse, it was found that 86% of remote employees have experienced high levels of exhaustion.
And often those new to working from home (or remotely) can have misconceptions that they’ll never be unmotivated or burnout. But trust me it happens to even the more experienced people that work from home!
I’ve been working from home full-time now for almost a decade. And I’ve slipped into many low energy moments and even phases of burnout.
In order to remedy this, there are a few ways I increase my energy and prevent burnout that might help you too.
1. Take frequent breaks.
The simplest thing you should do is take frequent breaks when you work from home. It’s very easy to stay in your chair for 8 hours and be glued to your computer screen.
But you need to take breaks, even if it’s just to stand up and look around for a few minutes. I wrote more about how frequently you should take breaks when working from home that can guide you further.
2. Schedule less or shorter virtual meetings.
Virtual meetings can become mentally exhausting.
Seriously, did you ever hear of Zoom fatigue? It’s a real thing that was coined out of the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone basically was working from home and on video meetings all day.
Hopefully you have a team or work for a company that understands the balance when it comes to video meetings and async communication. But if not, you can do your part by not scheduling a ton of meetings and making them much shorter for coworkers.
3. Listen to music that motivates you.
At certain aspects of my work day, I enjoy playing music in the background while I work. There are also certain times where I need silence, but often I find music can energize me.
And it’s not just me. In a survey from 2016, 79% of respondents said they’re more productive if they listen to music while they work. Among the survey’s 4,553 respondents, 48% said music helped them focus.
If you are interested in exploring further, I did put together some insights and genres that are best to play when working from home.
4. Move around and stretch.
With your frequent breaks you should be taking, use some of those to move around and stretch.
I was so bad at doing this for the first year or two of working from home. I would just keep getting distracted by work, that I found I hadn’t moved out of my chair for hours. And this was a daily routine…yikes!
And often I found myself tired through most of the day or just having very low energy. Plus by not moving it’s hurting my overall health and well-being too. Since then I’ve continued to build this habit of walking around the home office and doing some stretch routines.
5. Get outside for fresh air and sunlight.
Nothing beats some fresh air and direct sunlight. Hopefully, you live in an area when the weather is too extreme most of the year. But hey, maybe a rush of cold or hot air is what you need to kick your energy up a notch!
But it’s important to get outside from your home throughout the day. Even if it’s just to stand outside for a few minutes, that alone can help you get a boost of energy.
And beyond fresh air, you’ll want to get a few minutes of sunlight too. According to WebMD, “Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, and that can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive, and focused.”
6. Make sure to get enough sleep.
Getting proper sleep can be a problem for people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 adults in the United States reported not getting enough rest or sleep every day (source).
So it should be your mission to ensure you get better sleep and find ways to get the recommended rest. And you should to not only. increase your energy when working from home, but for your overall health.
There can be many things you can do to improve your sleep if you notice you have troubles. Exercising more throughout the day, eating better, turning screens off before going to bed, etc.
What works for you, might not work for the next person. So you’ll have to test things out.
7. Eat and stay hydrated as needed.
Another classic tip that has many benefits beyond working from home is eating and staying hydrated.
I was also pretty bad at this in the early days of working from home. I’d get so wrapped up in the project or task, that I’d lose track of time and not want to pause my rhythm.
However, I wasn’t drinking enough water and often ate only small lunches. Naturally, this caused my energy during work and after to be depleted.
So I had to break these bad habits, which basically started with a timer on my phone. As well as listening to what my body was telling me I needed.
8. Breakaway from work on your computer.
Working from home requires the majority of your work to be done on your computer.
But is there work you can do with the classic pen and paper? Maybe on a whiteboard? Or can you take some time for learning and development that doesn’t require using your laptop?
Taking a break from the computer can help your energy, stress, and give your eyes a break from screens. I’ve started using a notebook often to write down ideas, draw things out, or plan out work and noticed it’s been helpful to my energy.
9. Schedule deep work hours.
There are going to be times throughout your workday where your energy might be lower. It’s normal to have that happen, even if you do follow a lot of the tips I shared already in this article.
One thing you can do is work around your daily schedule when your energy might be suffering a bit.
When do you notice your energy levels are down? Take note of these common times. This can allow you to schedule deep work time for when you are most productive.
And then when energy levels seem to be low, you can work through some of the tips on this list to give you that boost! Or work on tasks that require less energy or brain power so you don’t get unmotivated.
10. Establish work from home boundaries.
One reason you might find your energy down when working from home is due to being overworked.
Yup, it’s very easy to feel obligated to work more, respond to emails, or message someone back after your designated work hours. I’m big time guilty of this!
Set boundaries with your employer, manager, and team. A great remote company will respect this, but also encourage you to not respond or work at all hours of the day.
Additionally, set boundaries with those you might be living with too.
Find your quiet and dedicated space to work and have transparent conversations to ensure no disruptions or issues arise when working from home. You don’t realize at first how draining that can be, crushing your energy and focus.
Working from home can definitely drain your energy levels. And you might have experienced it yourself a few times if you’ve worked from home before.
But hopefully the above simple tips will help you stay on track and continue being productive.
However, I do want to leave you with one final note.
One thing to keep in mind is you might have a day where things feel “off” or a sluggish couple of hours. If that is the case, remember that is completely normal. And happens to workers in the office or at home.
We all have days of being tired or feel unmotivated from our normal workdays. Your goal should be to ensure it does not become a daily habit where it negatively impacts your work.