Top Tips for Working From Home
Although the end definitely feels in sight, as shops, bars and restaurants start to reopen, many of us are still working from home.
For some this has been our lives for over 12 months now, forced upon us by the way the world has been since COVID. For others it is a lifestyle choice and will continue to be so for as long as possible. Uncertainty still remains as to whether we will all have to return to our regular workplace as many businesses reconsider their operational strategy as they have become so accustomed to this new way of working.
No matter what the outcome, making the most of working from home from a physical and mental health perspective is key to our productivity and our happiness. Here we look at 5 ways in which you can remain motivated and productive.
Your chair is SO important
We spend SO much time at our desks and in front of our computer screen. How long varies depending on your job but it is safe to say that it’s too much - no matter what you do.
Picking the perfect chair is important for our posture and long term physical health so we need to make sure that it is comfortable (not too much so that you fall asleep!) but adaptable for our own bodies. We can also help ourselves with our bums on seats. Beth Gough, Founder of BeYoga in Manchester says,
‘Every hour or so, all you need is 5 minutes to do a few simple yoga postures in your chair to help alleviate some aches and pains.’
Beth’s postures and neck stretches will help immensely but first things first, make sure your chair works for you!
And so is your desk
Have you been using your lap, the kitchen table or even been laid in bed whilst checking emails? Having a dedicated room or area is key to productivity as you have the space where you can work and separate yourself from normal domestic activity.
This isn’t just for the professionals amongst us, but for the kids too! Once you establish a clear work area for your children, you can set some boundaries. Psychologically, as an employee you may now have your space, but if you are self employed and need to have customers, clients or partners in your home for a meeting, your workspace and desk will help showcase your professionalism.
Keep it tidy
Some believe it was Einstein who first said ‘a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind’ and there have since been many iterations leading to ‘a tidy desk is a tidy mind.’ How true this is for you personally is debatable however, having paperwork, files and all the usual office paraphernalia scattered across your desk and home office will lead to hours spent looking for that post it note you scribbled down a week ago or that invoice you printed yesterday.
Having workable storage will keep you in check, make things easier to find and will ultimately mean you are more productive
Take time out
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) suggests you should take short breaks often, rather than longer ones less often. For example 5 to 10 minutes every hour is better than 20 minutes every 2 hours.
This should apply whether you are in your normal office or working from home. Keep an eye on the clock and make yourself have a break but don’t disrupt your workflow. If you’re in the middle of an important piece of work and you are on a roll, maybe you will want to keep going, but when you can, take some downtime. Imagine if you were back in the office, you’d make a brew, chat with colleagues, pop out for lunch. Just because you are at home doesn't mean that those natural breaks (or timed) shouldn’t happen too!
When the working day is done, step away from the laptop. Sit in the garden (weather permitting), stretch out on the sofa and read a book. Whatever it is, set some definitive rules and boundaries around work and leisure time. If you were in the office, you would step outside at the end of the day and go home. Creating a similar experience when working from home will mean that you have a professional and personal life.
Working from home always used to carry connotations of ‘skiving’. The world has changed but we need to change with it. Whether it remains the norm or whether you have now decided that this is your future, look after yourself, your body and your mind