No morning commute, more sleep, and business attire optional. Working from home can seem ideal at first but it comes with its own set of unique challenges. You’re surrounded by potential distractions from your personal life that wouldn’t even be present at the office. That can include interruptions from those you live with, household chores, or the ultimate productivity-killer: thinking you can watch just one episode of your favourite TV show before getting to work.
With social distancing measures in full effect right now, many workplaces are doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by empowering their staff to work from home. If you’re one of the many people working from home for the first time, it’s helpful to learn from those who do it regularly. At DoProcess, we have people all across the country who work from their own homes. Here are a few tips to help you stay productive in your new environment:
- Set a designated workspace
It can be tempting to sit back on the couch or even your bed, but you’re better off creating a dedicated space that is just for work. Ideally, this could be its own room where you can close the door to signal to yourself, and anyone you live with, that you’re at work and not to be interrupted. This will also help you avoid being distracted by things like the TV or housework that needs doing.
- Think ergonomically
Whether you’re working at your kitchen table or a desk in a home office, set it up as ergonomically as you can to prevent aches and pains. Use a chair that allows you to sit upright and is comfortable for long periods. If you find yourself slouching, use pillows to help you stay in position. If you’re working on a laptop, consider using a separate monitor or keyboard so that you can maintain proper posture without straining your neck.
- Stick to your work routines
It can feel like a treat at first to sleep in and stay in your pyjamas when you first start working from home. However, the longer you keep doing those things, the easier it is for them to become your new habits. Instead, try to stick to your normal schedule and morning routine so that you’re in the professional mindset when you start up your computer each day. As an added benefit, this will help ease the future transition back to working at the office.
- Take regular breaks
When you’re at the office, you probably take small breaks to chat with coworkers or grab a coffee. At home, it’s easier to lose track of time and stay at your desk for long periods without noticing. However this risks burnout as well as eye strain and neck pain. Give yourself permission to take breaks where you get up and move around, even to do something personally productive like put in a load of laundry. If you find yourself forgetting to take breaks, set yourself reminders using your calendar, phone, or even an egg timer from your kitchen.
- Stay connected
One of the hardest parts of working from home full time is the social isolation from the people you normally see every day. This can be especially hard for those who live alone. Thankfully, we live in a time with an abundance of technology tools to choose from to help us stay connected. Have regular video calls with friends and family and have video lunch dates with your coworkers to catch up. There are also options that let you remotely play board games or watch a movie together with friends. Don’t wait to feel lonely before you start scheduling time with others, start doing it right away.