8 steps to healthy and productive working from home
STEP 1: ensure a separate working space
It takes some organisation to work from home, and certainly if you lack a separate working space. Move to another room, or be creative and install a partition on the dining or living-room table to create a separate work space. Your concentration will be better if you can minimise distraction. This is naturally easier said than done if your children are at home.
STEP 2: ensure that the workplace is peaceful and pleasant
The ideal work space has plenty of windows and bright light. Open the curtains and place the desk perpendicular to the window to avoid direct light. Air the room regularly by opening the windows or with good ventilation. It is best to close the door in order to minimise ambient noise. In an open space it is certainly worth wearing earphones or headphones with noise cancelling.
STEP 3: create a work schedule to suit your rhythm
Discipline is required when working from home. Before you know it you will be stuck to your screen. So work to defined hours which suit your own rhythm: a morning person can take advantage of the early hours, while night owls may prefer working later in the evening. Develop a routine and stick to it as much as possible. Don’t forget to take a regular break.
Tips for working from home with children
- Show clearly when you are working and when you do not wish to be disturbed (e.g. using a bike light);
- Take turns with your partner to work and care for the children;
- It is better to work while they nap or after they have gone to bed.
STEP 4: use ergonomic equipment
Your workplace at home may not be as well adapted as your usual office, but a few simple measures can be a great help.
- If possible, use an ergonomic office chair or choose a comfortable chair which provides sufficient support to the lower back.
- Install the table at elbow height. You may be able to raise it by e.g. placing Duplo bricks under the legs. Is your table a little too high? Then raise your chair a little (e.g. with cushions) and use a footrest (e.g. a Curver box).
- Place your laptop in an ergonomic position: place a thin book under the back in order to tilt your keyboard slightly or use a laptop holder in combination with an external keyboard and mouse.
STEP 5: alter your position regularly or work standing up
The perfect sitting position involves placing one foot slightly forwards and one foot under the chair. This encourages a good back posture. Be sure to stand up regularly and do a few bending and stretching exercises. From time to time, you can also work standing up or even walking around, as this stimulates the circulation. Checking mails, reading documents or making calls can all be done in this way.
STEP 6: take healthy breaks
It is important to take sufficient breaks, even when working from home. Ideally these should be healthy ones. Go for a walk or jog, jump on your bike for half an hour or do some yoga. Satisfy a rumbling stomach with healthy snacks: a piece of fruit, nuts, raisins, yoghurt, etc. and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Go and fill your glass or jug regularly in the kitchen, as this automatically gives you some exercise.
STEP 7: consider the safety of your surroundings
Mess is counterproductive and increases the risk of a tumble. So clean up well, keep every passage free, and attach your computer and electronics cables wherever possible. Also, reduce the risk of fire with a few simple measures.
STEP 8: stay in touch with yourself and others
Do you miss the contact with colleagues? Communicate with them using online platforms. Phone or video chat, send a message or give team members a digital compliment. It all helps to maintain the positive spirit. As team lead it is important to stay connected to your team members.
For your own emotional state it is important you create good sleeping habits. Do you still feel restless and down? Turn to those around you or a professional assistance provider for help.