Some people love it, some people hate it and some are just trying to get used to it! Amid the spread of Covid-19, remote working has become company policy for many across the globe. Whether you are the patron of your own established home office space or a newcomer to the idea of remote work, here’s what you need to know to make your experience of working from home healthier.
1) Separate Work From Home
This may sound like a joke when you work from home, but it’s essential to separate your workspace from your home space. No matter where you work from, a work-life balance is crucial for creating stability. If you can’t build physical boundaries between your work and home, you can definitely build mental ones:
Firstly, try to have as many physical boundaries as you can. If you can’t have a designated room for your home office, make sure you have a separate desk which is not the dinner table and functions only as your office desk.
Furthermore, it always helps to practise some mindfulness, but especially when you have a small home space that is also your home office, you may want to try meditation before and after work to ensure some mental clarity.
Although you may not have the same routines of a regular office day, it’s important to develop some before and after work routines to get in the mindset of working, and to get out of it. You could start with having breakfast at a certain time in the morning and having a relaxing cup of tea right after work. If your home office is in the room where you sleep, always make your bed in the morning to close the chapter of sleeping there.
Some of us live with our friends or family and there may be more than one person in a household that works from home. In this case, try to have separate working rooms, and if that is not possible, separate desks at least. If you have children to look after and you are lucky enough to share the responsibility with someone else, always keep the children away from your home office space and look after the kids on a rotating basis.
Don’t work from your bed! Yes, this might sound luxurious, but it is not as healthy as it sounds. You will have a very hard time having a mental work-life boundary if you work from your bed. Also, it’s almost impossible to have a healthy posture in bed with a computer. Moreover, you can expect to experience some sleep problems if you do this every day.
Lastly, imagine what you would have on your desk in the office. A stapler, calendar and maybe some sticky notes? But you certainly wouldn’t have an ash tray or a child’s toy there? Apply the same principle to your remote working space. For example, get rid of irrelevant items on your home office desk and place items there that create an office vibe, if you can.
2) Get Comfortable
It’s extremely important that you have a comfortable seat and an appropriately positioned desk and computer screen while doing remote work. Try to apply the same ergonomic standard you have in the office to your desk when working from home. Ask for your chair or other equipment from your employer if you can. Another option is optimising your work space with items you might have at home. Also, you can try replacing an uncomfortable kitchen stool with a Pilates ball. Or, adjust your screen to eye level with the help of books. Also, make sure you have enough light in your work space. If you can’t navigate your desk to get enough sunlight, you should always use artificial light. Because the aesthetics of home office furniture aren’t a big deal in your private space, you can try to get as comfortable as possible.
3) Don’t Get Too Comfortable
Ok, we suggest you get comfortable but, in moderation! Getting too comfortable can make you lose the sense of work discipline and of workspace/home space boundaries. You don’t need to wear your suit, but do not work in your pyjamas. You can change your clothes before and after working to really give yourself the feeling that you’re done for today. Sit in a comfortable enough position to work, but be aware that if your seat is too comfortable you may feel sleepy. Moreover, try to achieve the same tidiness you would have in your office. Don’t get lost in the clutter you created in your home office. It is also important to look business appropriate on video calls even if you work from home. P.S. Yes, we know that you’re wearing your pyjamas under your button-down shirt.
4) Move Your Body
Probably the one big advantage that working from home brings is a more mobile working life! Use your breaks as an opportunity to exercise. No one will judge you, because they can’t see you.
5) Healthy Food, Healthy Remote Work
Just because you are working remotely, doesn’t mean you have to be a couch potato devouring junk food. Please, don’t do this to yourself. Do not eat in your home office and do not have a fizzy drinks bottle on your desk. Have a separate place to eat and eat only when you are hungry. Otherwise, you may get lost in the loop of binge eating. Also, a study shows that eating with other people is good for our mental health. In case you are home alone, try to arrange to eat with a virtual partner.
6) Stay Connected
Thanks to technology, it’s easy to stay connected no matter where we are. We are of course in touch with the people who are dearest to us, but that’s different. It’s also very important to have a sense of belonging at work, and that’s why you should try to stay as connected as possible with your colleagues beyond the level of instant messaging. You can plan lunch/coffee breaks with your colleagues and even team events on the camera. And, why not try virtual after work drinks?
7) Lift Yourself Up
Remote work may not be your first choice, but is that the worst thing that ever happened? Definitely not! There are actually many advantages that remote work can bring to your life. Just remember to stay on the positive side to keep those spirits high. After all, it can be one of the fringe benefits of a job to be able to work from home! Additionally, adopting a positive attitude about working from home will benefit you mentally. It will also increase your efficiency at work. Just try writing down all the positive things you can now do that were not possible while working in the office, and you’ll see what I mean.