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As we all become used to the new normal of working from home, social distancing, and seeing less of our family and friends, it may be time to face the facts and realize that the way the working world was before Covid-19 is likely to be very different after.
One reason is that many of us are now working from home and face the prospect of it becoming something more permanent, even if it’s in a hybrid way. Working from home was an unfamiliar way of working and can lead to bad habits. It’s important to address these bad habits and make sure you’re looking after your health through these changes.
If you were used to working in an office before social distancing, then you were likely very used to a structured day. There is a very fine balance between the work you complete, the meetings you attend, and the breaks you need to refuel. If you can apply the same structure to your work life at home, then you’re likely to be in a productive routine. There is always going to be flight hiccups, however, if you keep to your structure, working from home may provide you with a real sense of accomplishment.
Below, let’s look at some of the ways you can look after your health and stay productive, even if you’re dealing with distractions such as pets, the TV, and children.
Have A Working Zone
You need to have a dedicated workspace when you work from home. It doesn’t matter how optimistic you are, if you don’t set yourself a working zone, then you’re likely to succumb to distraction after distraction and hardly get anything done. This space ideally needs to be free of distraction and interruptions as well as comfortable. If you don’t have a separate room that you use, you may need to think creatively. Find an area in your home that you can identify as your own and claim as your working zone, at least until you can return to the office. It may be the corner of the dining room or living room, or even the end of the kitchen table if you know it’s only going to be temporary.
You just need to ensure that you’re ready to work and that your distractions are to a minimum. You should see your home as a safe environment where you’re able to concentrate, focus, and make uninterrupted phone calls, getting your normal work done. Having a dedicated working zone also means you can walk away from your work at the end of the day and switch off properly as you would if you were leaving the office.
Keep Away From Pain And Strain
Although it may be tempting to sit on your bed or sofa to complete your work, this is less than ideal. You need to have a chair that properly supports your back. Think about being in the office, you usually have an assessment to make sure you aren’t causing yourself any injuries, so you should apply the same to working from home. If you’re working from your computer all day, practice good posture and make sure you stretch often so you can avoid shoulder and neck injuries.
If you usually use a standing desk at work, ask if you are able to bring it home. Sitting at your desk for long hours has been linked to obesity, disease, and diabetes. If no standing desk is available, make sure you take regular breaks and walk a little bit every hour. You could also try some of these exercises:
Stand with your back on the wall and your feet hip-distance apart. Slide down slowly with your back against the wall so you are in a sitting position. Then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat.
Bridge Back Stretch
Using a mat, lie on your back with your knees bending toward the ceiling and your feet firmly on the floor. Steadily raise your hips into the air, then lower them back to the floor. Repeat.
Lie on your back with both of your knees bent toward the ceiling and your feet firmly on the floor. Then place your hands across your chest in a crisscross. Focusing on your core, lift your shoulders off the floor a few inches, hold your neck in a neutral position, and then lower yourself back down to the floor. Repeat.
Create A Routine You Can Stick To
When working from home, you should plan to start your working day at the same time every day if it is both practical and possible. You should also practice healthy boundaries. It may be useful to use a signal that you’re starting your working day such as going for a 15-minute walk first, making yourself a hot drink, or closing the door to minimize distractions.
By structuring your day, you’re enabling yourself to stay focused on the tasks at hand and you’re also showing others that you are “at work” and not “at home”. You should also signal that you’re on a break or it’s the end of your day by opening the door you have closed. This is a great way of showing the kids when it is and isn’t ok to approach if it isn’t an emergency.
Use It To Your Advantage
One of the benefits of working from home is that you’re managing your own time. Rather than needing to arrange appointments such as the opticians or dentist around your working hours, it’s much easier to work your routine around these instead. See it here, for some of the ways you can order your prescription glasses at home.
Remember To Take Lunch Breaks
You need to make sure you’re mindful of your well-being, meaning you need to ensure you still schedule yourself a lunch break. Get up, move around, go for a walk, and grab a healthy lunch.
If you have a partner also working from home and children who are studying, you could schedule a daily lunch to eat together to ensure you all get the daily break that you need. Choose nutritious and healthy foods, just like you would if you were in the office, and, if you can, avoid eating at your desk. It’s also important that you keep drinking water throughout the day to remain hydrated.
Keep In Touch
One of the biggest benefits of working in an office is the fact you have social interactions. However, just because you aren’t seeing your co-workers in person doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. If your office is using tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Zoom, set your status as “available” when you’re working and make an effort to have a catch-up. You could even create a virtual tea break or coffee break once a week.
It’s important to stay in touch in a social way to maintain your mental wellbeing in the workplace. It will help to prevent you and your teammates from feeling isolated.
Covid-19 has affected many people’s normal working life, but it has also opened up the eyes of employers who are now considering a more hybrid working approach in the future. Have you felt the effect of working from home? What have you done to make sure you stay healthy?