The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly turned home spaces into office zones by creating a new wave of remote workers.
To comply with social distancing guidelines, 57 percent of employers have offered flex time or remote work options to employees, according to a recent Gallup poll. Many workers eagerly accepted but soon discovered they weren’t prepared for the challenge.
Top tips for successfully working from home
Start by evaluating your new at-home office space, listing the pros and cons, and looking for ways to make it better. Making adjustments is key. Here are a few suggestions that could make a huge difference for you:
Make sure the lighting in your home office is adequate for the long hours you may spend at your computer each day. Eye strain can lead to headaches and other health issues.
Ideal lighting is bright enough to reduce eye strain without creating a glare. Natural light is highly recommended if it can be adjusted throughout the day with blinds or curtains. When sunlight isn’t available, LED desk lamps are a great alternative for indirect, non-glare illumination. Look for flexible lamps that can be angled, and light color temperatures in the 4,000 to 6,000 Kelvin range.
We’ve all seen the meme of the guy sitting in his underwear while video conferencing with coworkers. Bad, bad idea. Set the tone each day by getting your body and mind in work mode.
Before logging in, groom yourself as if you were physically heading into a meeting with your boss or coworkers. According to an article in Kalido, a morning shower can get your productive juices flowing and help your brain make the transition to “work time.”
Get out of those PJs and put on your work clothes. You’re likely not going to wear a suit and tie while working remotely, but you’ll feel more productive if you ditch the loungewear.
Employers can help with this one by providing workers with customized shirts printed with the company logo. A personalized ceramic mug or portable earbuds are nice motivational thank-you gifts from the boss!
Sitting in one place for hours at a time is bad for your health, WebMD warns. It can lead to back problems, heart disease, diabetes and other physical and mental problems.
Get up at least once every two hours to stretch, go to the bathroom, pour a cup of coffee or get a breath of fresh air. I recommend setting an alarm to remind you it’s time to move!
Check with your supervisor to find out what’s acceptable regarding breaks and lunch periods while working from home.
This may be the toughest part of remote working. Some distractions are impossible to avoid such as a visitor ringing the doorbell, a barking dog or a child that needs your attention. Do what you can to prepare for such things but accept this as part of the experience (and hopefully your boss will, too!).
One thing you can do to reduce distractions is to create your workspace away from the noisy, high-traffic areas in your home. This also can help you keep “work life” and “home life” separate so you don’t feel like you never leave the office!
Wearing headphones can help keep you focused on your work and reduce the noise around you.
Get a comfy chair
A comfortable chair that supports your back is a necessity for your home office. Sitting on a typical dining room chair or folding chair for just a few hours can wreak havoc on your body.
Look for a chair with lumbar support and a contour that keeps you sitting up straight, suggests The Balance Small Business. Adjustable features for height and armrests are also important to ensure a more custom fit for the user.
Work from home trial and error
Let’s be honest. Most people never thought they’d be hosting conference calls in their spare room or basement. Then COVID-19 appeared and everything changed.
Remote working is new to many of us and it will take time to adjust. Talk to coworkers or friends who share the WFH title and hack their secrets to success. Experiment and make changes.
I’m confident you’ll find your niche.