At first, the idea of skipping your commute and working in your pyjamas from the comforts of your own home sounds too good to be true. But unfortunately, anyone who’s worked from home knows it isn’t always as stress-free and simple as it seems.

With everything you may have going on at home, it can be difficult to remain focused on work. Making changes to your home office atmosphere might seem like yet another chore. Still, in the end, these changes can ease tension, increase focus and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some practical things you can do to overcome work-from-home challenges.

The Struggles of Working from Home

While working from home is one of life’s great pleasures (for some), it’s not uncommon for people to miss the structure that an on-site workday provides. The likelihood of making up an excuse to skip the gym or a bike ride is much higher if you’re already home, even though you really don’t have any excuse because there are a ton of great at-home exercises.

At times, gaps in communication, collaboration or a lowered access to productivity tools add to stress. Folks who host meetings or events at home may face even more problems.

As we all know, dealing with stress is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle, and poorly managed stress can lead to a pattern of poor diet and exercise. Overcoming stress and unhealthy habits isn’t always easy. Still, it can be done with the right practices and self-applied structure.

Build a healthy working environment.

A productive work-from-home day begins with your environment. This means creating a space to work that promotes healthy and effective habits.

Sorry to break the news, but this also means not working in bed or in front of the TV.

Your home workspace certainly doesn’t need to be fancy. A simple makeshift office in a specific corner of the dining room is more than enough. What’s most important is to only use this space for work, safe from the relentless group messages coming in from friends and family.

Set guidelines, manage time and maximise productivity.

This may seem a bit silly, but you need to stay accountable and take a leadership role to find success working from home. This means setting working hours, taking scheduled breaks and unplugging at the end of the day. Starting work and (hopefully) ending it at the same time every day can really help you avoid an unhealthy work-life balance.

Taking it another step, it’s also essential to develop a healthy sleep schedule while working from home. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and set an alarm. While it may sound tempting to set your alarm five minutes before logging on for the day, you should consider rising at a reasonable time to give yourself the best chance to prepare for the day ahead.

Setting a schedule for working hours can also be a catalyst for success. It may seem like a chore, but it’s incredibly satisfying to check items off your to-do list and see your productivity in real-time. You don’t have to reinvent a time management system. Lifestyle applications like the IsaLife™ mobile app help you stay on track with your goals and make tracking tasks so much easier.

Invest in your physical health…

A healthy lifestyle can easily take a back seat while you’re working from home, but it really is a major factor in your ability to stay focused, sharp and productive. After all, the kitchen is only a few steps away. Filling your pantry with nutritious fruit, snacks and drinks is a convenient way to power through your day.

Still in need of some midday energy? Sip on BĒA™ Sparkling Energy Drink during your conference call for a bubbly, 10-calorie boost, or swig some e+ for a more concentrated energy shot

…and your mental health.

Coupling some of the nutritional benefits listed above with regular exercise is a great first step in practising self-care. One thing I find helpful for both mental and physical health on work-from-home days is taking a short walk. It’s a great way to clear my head or brainstorm creative ideas. (Your fur babies will also be a big fan of this idea.)

Keeping in touch with others also works wonders for mental health. Working alone from home often leads to feelings of isolation and downright loneliness. Regularly checking in with teammates and colleagues can be a great way to stay positive. Even a quick chat or call can really brighten your workday. Plus, you can show off that goofy GIF you’ve been saving for the perfect opportunity.

Don’t get derailed with distractions.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it’ll be impossible to work from home successfully if you can’t focus. When you think about it, you wouldn’t be making breakfast in the boardroom during a meeting at work, so why would you do that at home? Taking notes during your meetings is a great way to make sure you’re still engaged regardless of how involved you are in the discussion.

The most effective way to promote focus while working at home is to treat your home office like you would treat an on-site office. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t do this at work, don’t do it at home.

Working from home is an efficient way to operate, and it’s an environmentally friendly way to work. As organisations evolve their work-life balance policies and implement modern working conditions, working from home will become more and more common. By working at home with healthy, positive and structured guidelines, you can avoid the pitfalls and become a master of at-home productivity.