LIFESTYLE NEWS - Working from home has its benefits, but there are also many distractions such as household chores and the kid’s homework, lack of routine or unhealthy boundaries.
Get control over working-home life so that your productivity levels stay where they need to be.
Designate a workspace
Working from your warm bed on a cold winter’s morning with coffee and rusks might sound too good to be true, but it’s more important to have a designated workspace at home that you go to every day to create a boundary between your work and home life. Ideally, it should be a separate room with a good source of natural light or space away from noise and distractions.
Look at the ergonomics
If you spend most of your day at a desk, make sure the ergonomics of your workspace are right. A few small changes can make the world of difference in reducing lower back pain and tension headaches.
- If your arms are not supported, the muscles of your neck and shoulders will be hurting by the end of the day.
- Watch your head position; don’t crane your head and neck forward.
- Slouching puts more pressure on your back so move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and reaching.
- Your tablet should be placed directly in front of you with the top no higher than eye level; the keyboard should be directly in front of the monitor so you don’t have to frequently turn your head and neck.
- Don’t talk on the phone with it jammed between your neck and ear.
- Your screen should be at least an arm’s length away and try to control screen glare.
- Your feet should not dangle when you are seated; if your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor or there is pressure on the backs of your legs, use a footrest or lower the keyboard and chair.
Working from home has many benefits, but you can get easily distracted with household chores, homework or scrolling through social media.
You must manage your time properly so that you can include your exercise, the housework and shopping, a lunch hour and breaks in your day.
One of the worst – and most addictive – distractions is social media. Turn off all your notifications and links so you can focus on work instead.
Set healthy boundaries
It’s easy for family members, friends or flatmates to forget that you’re actually working at home. You may need to have a chat with everyone so that they are aware of your working hours and appreciate the type of environment you need. This can be really hard to juggle with kids so it’s up to you to make work time and family time, not forgetting time out too.
Get into a routine
Start your day off so that you can get into a professional mindset; practise an hour of meditation or go and exercise, get dressed, have breakfast and then ‘go’ to work. Have a schedule and plan your day accordingly, then switch off so you get the rest you need. As the end of the day approaches, update your to-do list, check tomorrow’s schedule and finish your day on a positive note.
How often should you take breaks and how long should they last?
- Without the usual coffee breaks and meetings that would usually break up your working day, you may have to schedule your breaks throughout the day.
- Focus on a task and reward yourself with a break afterwards.
- Move away from your desk during your breaks, make a healthy lunch or tea, catch up with a friend or spend some time with your kids.
- You can also use break times to stretch, do a virtual fitness class or go to raise your energy levels and reduce stress.
- Remember the 20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent looking at your screen, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This a great way to remember to take breaks and reduces eye strain.