Working from Home
With so many people now working from home, here are a few tips from Enrich You on things to think about to make sure working remotely is as positive an experience as it can be.
Whether you already have a physical space at home that you can dedicate to your working day, or whether you have to set-up and pack away each day, it is important that you are mindful of your physical and emotional surroundings in order to work comfortably and productively….
Are you sitting comfortably?
Whilst you may be comfortable sitting on the sofa with your laptop, it is advisable to use a proper table and chair and do a risk-assessment of your workstation. Check that the lighting is good. Be aware of wires becoming trip-hazards to you and others in the house. Check your posture and seating position to ensure that you are not slouching. Try to sit upright with your feet touching the floor and with proper line of sight to your screen. Ensure that your arms are horizontal with the keyboard and that you are not stretching to reach your mouse etc.
Your employer has a ‘duty of care’ when asking you to work from home and should provide you with proper guidance and equipment – but for comfort and safety in the short-term, try using cushions to aid physical support whilst sitting at your temporary workstation. Finally, be sure to take regular breaks and get up from your chair to walk around, stretch, eat and stay hydrated.
Setting boundaries and finding your routine
Separating your working life from your home life can be difficult at first. If you’re not used to working from home, you can easily get distracted and/or end up working extended hours. To avoid this, try establishing a routine to manage your day. Good tips include setting yourself fixed hours…. getting dressed into/out of your normal work clothes to manage the psychological boundary between work and home…. and asking family members to avoid disturbing and interrupting you unnecessarily during working hours etc.
If avoiding disruptions is impossible and your work doesn’t involve you having to be at your desk during set hours (i.e. call answering/customer service etc), another approach is to set yourself a reasonable number of tasks to be completed each day. Whilst this approach might stretch your working hours across the day, the positive impact is that you can use it as a way of managing your energy levels and avoiding disruptions around normal family life. If you’re finding either of these approaches difficult – especially during the Covid-19 crisis – speak with your line-manager to find a reasonable solution and workaround.
Keeping in touch
Don’t be alone – there are many others in your situation right now. Speak to friends, family and colleagues about how they are managing. Try to maintain healthy social contact between co-workers and exchange notes on how you are each coping with working from home. The equivalent of a ‘virtual’ coffee machine chat can be achieved and maintained through social media, conference calling and/or a simple telephone chat, and is a healthy part of maintaining good working relationships. Whilst you might be relying on your line-manager for help and support at this time, remember that they might need support too – so check in with their wellbeing when you can.
In a nutshell:
- Manage your boundaries by learning to separate work from home – both physically and emotionally. Be adaptable to your surroundings.
- Set up your workstation comfortably and try to avoid disruptions.
- Set yourself fixed hours or a certain number of tasks to achieve each day and learn to switch off at the end of your working day.
- Stay in touch with colleagues and customers to share experience and help support them in their work and personal wellbeing.
- And finally…. learn to be practical and adaptable at this time. Until we know differently, this is all temporary, so try not to worry and work with what resources you have.
For further reading here is a great guide from Glide on practicing remote working.