During this global pandemic that is Covid-19, there has been a sharp rise in homeworking. This is a great opportunity for some people but also poses its own challenges. A large portion of people that haven’t routinely worked remotely have now been advised to or have taken the opportunity offered to them given the current situation. This transition can be difficult but hopefully these few tips will assist.
- Get dressed for the occasion even though it is tempting to lounge around in your pyjamas, this is a slippery slope you want to avoid. Get dressed in the morning for work. It doesn’t have to be super formal but out of the pyjamas. This can be part of keeping a routine which is a vital part of your mental health. Keep your times for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner the same. Eat nutritious meals and drink plenty of water.
- Have a dedicated workspace to avoid distractions, ideally work in a dedicated office space where you can close the door and get down to business. Separating tasks and rooms is vital in maintaining focus and avoiding other temptations.
- Take regular breaks to go for a walk or chat to colleagues which can help replace the lost social aspects or encourage some more activity. It is tempting to work consistently, especially if you’re worried people may think you’re slacking.
- Exercise needs to be built into your daily routine, go for a walk at some stage during your day. It improves your well-being, improves focus and provides a change to your surroundings. Get out in nature as much as possible!
In addition to getting your routine right making sure your workstation is set up ergonomically is important. Ergonomically means to have a space that minimizes physical effort or discomfort and maximises efficiency. Basically, your workstation and equipment should fit you. There are a few simple steps that can help improve your productivity and comfort in your new environment. Starting with the feet we will work our way up.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or on the pile of books/footrest if your feet are dangling.
- Sit with your hips slightly above your knees with shoulders relaxed and elbows at 90 degrees with forearms resting on the table.
- Have some support in the lower area of your back i.e. a rolled-up towel can work well just above your waist.
- Keep the top of your monitor at or as close to eye level as possible and in front of your body. This will minimise any strain on your neck.
- Place your monitor at an arm’s length away from you to avoid eye strain and make sure you have sufficient lighting in your workspace to avoid eye strain.
- Prepare your table/desk with all your necessary equipment for work. Keep frequently used items in close reach to stop overreaching which is a cause of upper back and shoulder pain.
- Have regular breaks from your work area to encourage movement keeping in mind that “motion is lotion” for the body’s joints.