Even after all this time, getting used to working from home is something of a challenge. What now has its own acronym, WFH, has gone from being rare to being the go-to way of working for most organisations.
COVID restriction have temporarily closed the workplace and people have been asked to transform a section of their homes into a functioning office. While some found this move simple, others are forced to work from bed or from a small corner of the kitchen counter. The flow of their day at work is interrupted by the needs of a family – and quite a few cats – making it a far from ideal working environment.
Will it last forever?
May large multinationals, such as Google and Twitter, claim that staff are just as, if not more, productive when they work remotely. It seems a lot of companies feel that WFH should become the norm – many believing that this was going to happen at some point and the move has just been accelerated by the pandemic. Who wants to pay for a centralised office when workers are more productive in their homes?
For team members, WFH also has benefits. There is no commute time – so more money and less stress. The time travelling can also be spent with family and friends.
So, if this win: win situation is to continue, we are going to have to make some changes to our lives to make the most of the benefits.
How to work from home successfully
Where do you work?
Step one in working from home is choosing where to work. There are few places in a house that make a great home office. Therefore, you will need to show some creativity.
A popular option is the spare room. A bedroom or smaller utility space in your home can easily be adapted to be an office. You can replace the bed with a desk and get some storage and away you go.
Again, an option that requires little prep is the garage. You could move things around, make sure there is some heating, and the building is weather-proof, you are good to go. The possibility that rain might get in is a serious consideration if you are going to bring electrics into the space.
Finally, you can go for the kitchen or dining room You can pinch a corner of the table and invest in some headphones, preferably the noise cancelling variety, to help you concentrate.
How to set up your workspace
When setting up a workspace it is preferable to have a room where you can shut the door, especially if you live with children. You also need to consider furniture designed to keep your fit and well for long periods of sitting – so an established and separate workspace is better.
First, you need to consider ergonomic. You need to protect your back by sitting upright, with your elbows and knees at right angles. Your monitor should be just below your eyeline and a minimum of an arm’s length away from where you are sitting. Keep your feet planted on the ground and your mouse in line with your elbow.
The correct height of desk and chair is also important and you should check out the right measurements for you. A minimum requirement for your office should be this suitable desk and chair that offers you plenty of space to work this way. Investing in an ergonomic chair is well worth while – as using a dining chair for too long will really cause you to suffer.
Adequate light is also important – especially considering the light needed for video conferencing. You can buy a circular halo light that attaches to the top of your monitor, which gives you the perfect flow when on camera. However, much more important is a source of natural light. Fluorescent bulbs are harsh on our eyes and without a natural source of light you will find your mood dipping.
Working from home is more than just the right space. You need to get into the correct routines and disciplines to produce the high-quality work expected of you.
First, you should get up and dressed in a morning. Believing you will work well in your PJs is an unhelpful myth. Working well is about attitude and attitude is about showing up appropriately. Getting into a normal routine of self-care and food, then work, will help you be better in your job.
Second, you need to take breaks and you need to get outdoors. It is not healthy to work through – as much as it makes you more productive. Then, at the end of the day, switch all the messaging apps off and give yourself some peace and quiet. You will do a better job if you practice good self-care – which means eating away from your desk.
With the right set-up and the right attitude, you can enjoy all the benefits of WFH and none of the downsides!
A guide to working from home