Case Study: Working from home

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Working from home may sound like fun, but it can make for a pretty lonely existence, says a Canterbury consultant.

Digital Marketing Consultant Sam Frost began his first stint working from home in 2014.

It seemed like an ideal situation in the beginning. With his desk set up in his bedroom, he could roll out of bed and begin working. 

“My health suffered for it and now I’m a lot more conscious about what I do,” he says.

Sam struggled to find a healthy balance back then.

“When you go to bed at night you’re looking over at your computer and thinking about all the stuff you’ve got to do in the morning. So your sleep suffers.”

When he grew bored, he would fill the gaps by snacking on chips and sandwiches, or walk to the dairy for a coke.

“If I compare myself now, and the feeling I get and the enjoyment I get from working from home and doing what I enjoy, versus when I first tried working from home, a couple of things have changed and they’ve had a big impact on my wellbeing.”

He has made deliberate changes to his lifestyle to address his wellbeing, which is all-encompassing to Sam.

The changes to his wellbeing have been “dramatic”, thanks mostly to the dedicated home office space he now has, which separates his working and social life.

“Now I just walk out of the office and shut the door on that work and leave it in there.”


Sam also dedicates time in his day to going screen-free.

“I think this is especially important for someone who works from home. You can wind up getting up in the mornings and spending your whole day in front of a screen.”

“Then when you want to relax, instead of having your browser open to work, you just have your browser open to Trademe and Facebook or something like that. So you never fully switch off.”

“You can’t allow it to rule your life. There is a risk you live to work, rather than work to live.”

He has no set routine around when he does switch off, but rather goes with the flow and takes time out when he feels the need to do so.

Sam also drinks plenty of water, reads his book in the sun during breaks and hits the gym five to six times a week.

“That’s important to me.”

For Sam, the gym sessions provide some much-needed face-to-face interaction, given most of his clients communicate with him online.

Sam also finds solace in pulling out his guitar for a jam.

He says the small changes he has made have helped increase his energy levels, and he is far more productive for it.

“It actually reflects in the work that I do. I’m a lot more enthused about it and just feel better overall. I think if your wellbeing is good - whether you’re in a job - or have your own business and work from home, your output will be better and your future self will thank you for looking after your wellbeing now.”

He admits he still gets bored on the odd occasion, but is able to better manage it now.

“I know there is a risk when you work by yourself and you can get a bit bored, and go grab a snack or go downstairs and grab some chips or make another sandwich. It’s super tempting and has got me in trouble in the past.”

“Really do focus on that and you’ve just got to be aware of what you’re doing… it sounds like an over-complication of something that is simple but it is quite a hard thing to do.”

In the weekends, Sam makes sure he does the things he enjoys like gyming or riding a bike.

“If you like playing the guitar or going for a walk, do it, it’s important.”

“Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean work has to be your home. You’ve got to be able to separate the two.”

The digital marketing consultant also finds it beneficial to start the day as if he were heading to work.

“I’m not saying get a three-piece suit and a bow tie on to answer some emails but do actually get up, have a shower, get yourself something to eat. It will put you in the mindset of working for the day.”