Not too long ago, our normal daily routine would see us leaving our homes to go to an office every day, and either en route there or back, or during our lunch hour, heading to the gym for a workout.

However, thanks to Covid-19, the new normal now sees many of us working from home and trying our best to stay fit in the process. It’s a situation we may need to get used to, at least for the foreseeable future. Or it may also become a way of life that some of us end up preferring.

Up until now, many of us in this situation have just been “making do” with what we have available. Working from a dining room table that we then need to clear each evening for the family meal, or catching the occasional yoga class on YouTube. 

But if you suspect you may be doing this for a while yet to come, it’s time to make your home environment as conducive as possible for both work and exercise. Here are a few tips to make it happen.

DEDICATE SPACE FOR YOUR “AT WORK” TIME

Now officially known across the globe as the Work from Home (WFH) phenomenon, the most practical way to tackle this is to set up a corner of your home that can become a dedicated workspace. Preferably one from which you can get up at the end of your work day, and walk away.

South African retailer @Home sells some suitable furniture pieces for a home office scenario, and offers a few practical tips in this regard. Among these are to make sure you work from a desk with the right height, use a chair that supports you properly, create adequate storage or shelving for all work-related items, and surround yourself with some of your favourite things like plants, or a special mug for your “office coffee”. 

However, under the current economic constraints, now may not be the right time to splurge on brand new furniture or get into unnecessary debt with hire purchase agreements. Obtaining what you need for your new home office may work better for you through a rent-to-own model, such as the one in which online retailer Teljoy specialises.

Explains Aimee Miller, Sales and Marketing Manager for Teljoy: “What we offer is furniture, appliances and electronics on a month-to-month contract, which is affordable and also provides consumers with financial flexibility and peace of mind.”

For someone who is looking to set up a home office, the month-to-month fee is anywhere between R189 and R329 per month depending on your style and needs. 

“We also offer office-appropriate storage cupboards and not to mention the electronics that go with working remotely, such as a laptop”, notes Miller.

CREATE A HOME GYM

Since the worldwide lockdown began, sporting goods suppliers across the globe have been reporting record sales, echoed in South Africa with a spike on these items as our own lockdown was announced and before it began.

Just as with home offices, many of us are therefore setting up our own dedicated home gyms, with spare rooms and corners in garages becoming ideal areas to accommodate all the equipment and leave it out to use as we need it. 

Some of us may, however, be in two minds right now: do we exercise at home or do we return to the gym? Again, this is where the rent-to-own model comes in, giving us what is essentially a try-before-we-buy option. Teljoy’s own range of treadmills, for example, starts from R659 per month up to R1 499 per month.

“A big advantage here, unlike a gym membership,” noted Miller, “is that the entire family at home can benefit from one high-end piece of equipment. Especially while you make up your minds about returning to the gym or not.”

“You can use it at your own time and in the convenience of your own home, which saves you from the gym fee expenditure that most people keep but not use – and may not use in the foreseeable future.”

SET UP A ROUTINE AND DEAL WITH DISTRACTIONS

Finally, it’s not just about the physical spaces you create for appropriate activities – it’s also about psychologically setting boundaries within your day.  For example, just as you would have gone to a gym at a particular time of your day before, set that time aside as your exercise time. 

Likewise, if you are able to dedicate a room in your home to be your office space, set the same rules, as you would have done if you were in an office with your fellow employees, with the people with whom you share your home.

Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it. Without these physical and psychological coping mechanisms in place, your work, home, family and chores will just blur into one, and you risk the possibility of feeling disoriented on all fronts. If this is going to be the new normal, let’s find the best ways to make it normal as quickly and easily as we can.