With workplaces in a constant state of flux, here are a few tips to stay healthy and productive for those who have to work from home.
As the spread of coronavirus puts a halt to many office environments around the world, companies of all sizes are shifting to a remote workforce. Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s parent company Alphabet have all recommended the vast majority of their employees work from home, with undoubtedly many more organizations following suit in the coming days and weeks.
As an employee, this significant change of pace might be one of the first times you’ve had to work from home for an extended period. Despite remote work having a host of benefits, there’s a range of hurdles to overcome to make sure you not only remain productive, but also maintain your mental and physical wellbeing.
To give you a quick rundown on what to expect, we’ve highlighted a few key aspects for successful remote work so you can make the most of your time at home.
Prepare your workspace
When setting up your workspace at home, the first thing you need to do is find a spot where you can sit comfortably for long periods. The area doesn’t have to be entirely shut off from the rest of your home, but it helps to choose somewhere that you or others in your house don’t normally use to relax.
This has a two-fold purpose. First, you don’t want to work somewhere with too many distractions. Second, it’s also a great idea to maintain a separate space where you can mentally unwind at the end of the day. Typically, that means working from bed is out of bounds.
Once you’ve decided on the best spot, you need to have the right equipment to promote productivity. If you’re going to be spending long hours at a desk, consider investing in an office chair that will keep you comfortable and free from injury.
Finally, find out what digital tools you’ll be using to communicate with the rest of your team. Then set about ironing out any tech issues to make sure nothing stops you from getting through the working day.
Balance your work and personal life
For newcomers to the home-office lifestyle, striking a balance between your personal and work life can become even more blurred than usual. Your phone and email constantly buzz with notifications, while networking tools like Slack can make your job seem inescapable.
Don’t be afraid to switch off and set appropriate boundaries. For most people, your hours should remain largely the same as what you’d normally spend in the office. To help manage this, plan out a work schedule and stick to it. Always aim to start and finish work around the same time every day and make sure to factor in breaks. Just because it’s never been easier to eat at your desk doesn’t mean that you should.
One of the major benefits of working from home is that your schedule has a newfound freedom. But you shouldn’t let your work life blend too much with the rest of your commitments, as you’ll never allow yourself a proper mental break.
Look after your physical wellbeing
Working from home can be great, but there’s a certain romance about it that doesn’t always add up with reality. There are numerous factors to consider, including your mental and physical wellbeing.
In the current climate of self-isolation, going to your regular workout or yoga class might not be a realistic possibility. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives available, including a range mobile and web-based fitness apps that often offer free trial periods. One popular choice is Down Dog, designed to guide you through a strenuous yoga session without ever having to visit a studio. Also, if it’s appropriate for the city you are in, you could also take a short break outside by taking a short walk around a nearby park or your block.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should forget about the dangers of computer-related injuries. From neck and shoulder pain to eyestrain, many of these issues can be avoided by setting up your workspace in the ideal conditions. Pick a spot to work from with plenty of natural light, while an ergonomic chair can protect your back. You should also remember to take frequent breaks to stretch out your legs.
You also should consider your eyes, which can get damaged by spending long hours staring at a screen. Consider the 20-20-20 rule – recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology – which suggests you should focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Don’t forget about your mental health
When you work from home, it can be easy to disregard your mental health. But loneliness is the equal most frequently cited concern expressed by remote workers, as found in the State of Remote Work 2020 report. Spending considerable hours indoors and mostly interacting with clients and colleagues via text can have an isolating effect on people.
When possible, make the effort to hold meetings or syncs via video or phone. If you need a face-to-face meeting with a colleague, book a private Blacklane car service by the hour. Blacklane premium vehicles are the perfect location to host a meeting, driven by professional chauffeurs trained in the art of discretion.
Meditation is another helpful tool to navigate this stressful period. Thankfully, there are a variety of mobile meditation apps that can enhance your focus and reduce anxiety – download a selection and see which one works best for you.
With most people living very busy working lives, maintaining a healthy diet is another aspect that’s often overlooked. Numerous studies have found that healthy eating habits are imperative to both our mental and physical self-care.
Pre-prepare your meals for remote work by cooking up large batches of nutritious options like pasta, soups, or fridge-friendly salads. And if you want a snack, choose fruit over candy or crisps. That way, when you’re in the middle of virtual meetings and phone calls, you won’t have to stress about finding something healthy to eat.