Setting up a workspace
DSE (Display Screen Equipment) is incredibly important when it comes to office-based working. For those unsure, these are measures that include things like having a fixed workstation, an adjustable chair, appropriate hardware and so on. Within an office, and with a HR team, we take this for granted and is more-often-than-not sorted out for us. This, of course, is a totally different ball game when working from home. Along with our tips below, read the government advice
on how to safely work from home.
Working from a new space can take a little bit of time to get settled into and there are several things you can do to ensure you don’t lose any productivity or time when making this change.
Start by ensuring you have an appropriate space to work in
– though tempting to pop yourself on the sofa with television on for “background noise” (yes, we’re looking at you Dave from Accounting), you’ll benefit from working at a desk or at the very least a hard surface for you to put your laptop or monitor on. This will not only help you feel like you’re in a professional environment, but will also aid in preventing injuries, such as RSI or Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, through having suitable workspace ergonomics.
You’ll need something to sit on
– equally as important as your workstation setup, you also need you have something appropriate to sit on. Again, sitting on the sofa is not appropriate, especially for 8 hours a day. Ideally, an office chair is what you should sit on – one that has an adjustable height and backrest, along with arms to rest on.
This being said, we’re pretty sure not everyone has an office chair lying around in their house so a standard chair will suffice; so long as you don’t need to awkwardly stretch to use your mouse and keyboard and the top of your screen is aligned with your eyes.
Add personal touches
– you know it’s your study, I know it’s your study… we all know it’s your study. It can be hard to disassociate existing feelings or attitudes with a location, so why not add (or remove) ornaments to make it feel more office-y?
Away from the physical challenges that working from home presents, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t impact your mental health. Keeping to a structure that you’re used to – or can get used to – can help to reduce distractions and allow you to continue working efficiently. Here are some tips:
Stick to daily routine –
we all enjoy having a lay-in on the weekends, and as much as it can be tempting to take advantage of already being in the “office” and get up later than usual, you risk losing motivation and will likely take extra time to get used to the new routine.
Try to ensure you get up at the same time you would usually to commute. To keep you focused, why not swap your usual commute time for some early morning fitness and/or meditation? Exercise is linked to improved mental health and will set you up for a productive day.
Remember to have breaks –
When working from home, you’ll likely have a lot less human contact than you would in an office so can’t stop for a 5-minute chat with Jan at the water cooler. Take short, frequent breaks (chat to friends or take a quick stroll around the house) in order to keep your brain focused and yourself healthy!
Do not work through your lunch –
It’s important that you use this time to switch-off; grab a bite to eat, spend time with friends/family/pets or go for a walk.
If you still need that little bit more motivation, have a read of our How to Create a Winning Mindset
Technology can help!
If you work within a team, try to schedule daily video calls – it will allow you to keep focused on projects and of course give you that all-important social interaction! Hint: it doesn’t always have to be work-based, taking a few minutes out for a chat with colleagues can improve your mental wellbeing!
Using communication/collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, this allows not only a chat function to keep you all in constant communication but also provides a file-sharing feature which means you can continue collaborating on projects just as you could in the office.
Managing around family
If you have kids, there’s no doubting they’ll require some attention during the day. If suitable, see if you can have family or friends watch over them so you can crack on with your day uninterrupted. If on your own (and providing they’re old enough to spend time unsupervised!), set designated breaks throughout the day to check on them and have a chat.
The same principle applies to pets! They can crave attention, particularly now you’re at home throughout the day, so it’s important that you allocate time for them – perhaps take this time for a quick walk? Try to remember to not give into any whining during your scheduled work time, though.