Due to the current situation, many people are finding themselves working from home for the first time. It’s a big change if you’re used to working in a busy office. Setting strict office hours, staying in regular contact with your colleagues and the right home office furniture can all make a big difference. Here are some tips from AJ Products to help you stay productive and keep your spirits up while working remotely.
- Keep in touch with your co-workers. Use the phone, online video conferencing, instant messaging tools, etc. to talk to your colleagues throughout the workday. There are a lot of tools available to ensure you can continue working as a team, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. A daily team catch up will keep you focused on common goals and boost morale.
- Stick to a routine. Working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a defined workday. If you have kids at home, you may need to adjust your work hours to accommodate childcare but try to stick to normal office hours as much as possible. Get up, get dressed and start your day at the same time as normal. At the end of the workday, turn off your computer, sign out of work emails and enjoy your free time.
- Separate your work and home life. Try to create a home office space where you can focus on your work. If you have kids or pets at home, try to separate your workspace from the rest of the house to prevent distractions: close the door if you can or set a schedule so that everyone knows when you need to concentrate or join a conference call. Set aside break times to spend with the kids where they know they have your full attention. Clear boundaries make it easier for everyone.
- Set up a proper work area. While it may be tempting to sit back on your sofa with your laptop balanced on your knees, that’s not a healthy way to work. Not only does it put you in the wrong frame of mind for working effectively, it is also really bad for your posture and can lead to back and neck pain. Ideally, you should sit up properly at a desk on an ergonomic office chair. If this isn’t possible, sit up at the dining table or breakfast bar. You should be able to sit with your wrists and forearms flat on the desktop with your elbows at 90° and the top of your screen at eye level. Investing in a good office chair will give you the right support and help you sit in an ergonomic position in order to prevent back pain, circulation issues and other health complaints. If you want to go one step further, set up a standing workstation. Sit-stand desks give you greater flexibility in the way you work and allow you to change your position throughout the day to reduce the health risks associated with sitting for long hours. If you’re going to be working remotely for a while, it’s important to be comfortable both for the sake of your long-term health and your productivity.
- Take regular breaks. Don’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks where you get up from your desk and move around. People take natural screen breaks in the office to talk to colleagues, get a coffee or walk over to the printer; at home make the effort to take those same short breaks. There is no need to feel guilty about doing this; you’re still putting in the hours required of you and you’ll be more focused when you get back to your desk.
- Don’t work in complete silence. If you’re used to working in a busy office, you may find it hard to concentrate if it’s too quiet so put some music or the radio on in the background. Remember you’re trying to create a productive work environment so don’t put on anything that distracts you.
- Go for a walk. Take the time that would usually be your lunch break and go for a short walk. Getting out for some fresh air and a change of scenery will be good for both your physical and mental health, so you can get back to work refreshed. (If you are going outside, be sure to follow all government guidelines and stay a safe two metres away from anyone not in your household.)
- Exercise. Boost your energy levels by doing a mini workout. This could be as simple as incorporating basic exercises into your workday, such as sitting down and standing up ten times in a row or running up and down the stairs. If you want to get your heart rate up, do a fitness video in your lunch break or a 10-minute high-intensity workout on an exercise bike if you have one. Not only is exercise good for your body, it can also help you stay alert and focused.
- Make sure you know what is expected of you. One of the biggest worries people have about working from home is how your company will know you’re working as hard as you would in the office. Keep in regular contact with your manager and ensure you are clear on what they expect you to achieve and how they would like you to report back to them. Don’t worry: your results will speak for themselves.
- Ask for help. If you’re struggling to work effectively away from the office, share your concerns with your colleagues and manager. They can share their experiences and help you come up with strategies for staying focused and productive.
AJ Products is a supplier of workplace furniture and interior solutions that focuses on ways to solve the problem of a sedentary workday. As a member of ukactive, an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote active lifestyles, the company is committed to making workplaces healthier and more active through an innovative and ever-growing range of sit-stand furniture and by raising public awareness of the health risks of prolonged sitting. Find out more at ajproducts.co.uk.