Most people think that being able to work from home is a privilege. After all, it’s hard to beat eliminating a drawn-out commute or even the tiresome act of getting ready for the office from your morning routine. Studies show that employees who work remotely are more productive and engaged than their office-going counterparts. They report higher levels of morale and job satisfaction.

What this seemingly perfect picture doesn’t portray is that any kind of remote work is an occupation that takes a lot of discipline. It can also sometimes feel like a lonely occupation: working from home can have a detrimental effect on an employee’s mental and emotional health. Remote workers can also be prone to feelings of isolation and loneliness, from lack of socialisation with their peers.

Now that more companies are shifting to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to educate those new to the scheme on how to take care of themselves. Below are 4 self-care tips that every remote worker should know about:

Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep

Yes, remote work means no longer having to get up early in the morning to catch the bus or beat rush hour traffic. When your ‘office’ is only as far as where you last stashed your computer, and there’s no one around to see that you’re still in your pyjamas, it can be all too easy to become complacent. Most remote workers think that the elimination of their usual commute means being able to stay up for as long as they want to. However, the effects of sleep deprivation and an inconsistent sleep schedule are universal, and they can affect your performance the next day negatively.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on your health, memory, and mood. Sleep-deprived individuals are at greater risk for depression and anxiety; they are also more anxious and irritable than those who are not. Not getting enough sleep also weakens your immune system, making you three times more likely to catch a cold. It also increases your risk for developing hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.

Combat sleep deprivation by making a commitment to keep a more consistent sleep schedule. Simply going to sleep at the same time every night can have a dramatic effect on its own. Minimising your caffeine intake in the midday and aiming for light meals in the evening can also help you fall asleep easier.

Use routines to put your brain in “work mode”

One of the biggest perks of working from home is the flexibility. Employees no longer have to be chained to a desk; they can also wear whatever they want and take breaks whenever they please. The setup allows workers to feel freer, but the lack of structure can be disconcerting for those new to remote work.

Routines can help remote workers feel more grounded by easing the transition from “home mode” to “work mode”. Google calls these “work triggers”: waking up at the same time every morning, making yourself coffee, having breakfast. Performing these actions every day, in the same sequence, at the same hours, can help put you in the mood for working and minimise wasting time.

Don’t feel pressured to be productive all the time

Making productive use of your downtime is always a good idea. A lot of people are spending this windfall of free time by learning new skills, signing up for training programs, or reading books.

However, you don’t have to feel pressured to keep up if you don’t have the mental capacity for it. What’s happening all around the world is stressful, and you can’t be blamed for feeling overwhelmed. You can take on professional development projects at your own pace. Instead, carve some time out to reset your mind and get in touch with yourself emotionally. Working out can be tremendously beneficial for stressed-out remote workers in dire need of endorphins and a boost of serotonin. Meditation and guided breathing exercises can help employees unwind and remain clear-headed.

Stay social

Feelings of loneliness and isolation tend to plague almost every remote worker. It’s difficult to be alone with only your own thoughts to keep you company day in and day out.

Don’t take “social distancing” literally! There are many ways to stay in touch with your friends and family members, as well as your colleagues, throughout this difficult time. At work, you can drop a line on your colleagues via email or instant messaging. You can still work on collaborative team projects using video or phone conferencing. You can also keep up with your loved ones using social media, texting, or phone calls.


Self-care is not selfish, and you’ll need it to keep yourself sane and emotionally stable while working from home. Don’t feel ashamed to make yourself a priority!