Working From Home Best Practices–Our Top 3 Quick Tips!
We are all doing things a little bit differently these days. Kids are home from school and evening events are cancelled. For most of us this also means our work day is conducted much differently. Many of us can be in our pajamas. At our kitchen table or even in our bed. And while that may seem appealing at first, in the long run it may not be the best for you or your employer.
Here are a few simple tips to help make working from home productive and most importantly allow you to separate work from home.
Best Practice #1: Set up an office space.
While it may seem very tempting to set up your new “office” on your bed or in front of the TV, having a dedicated work space helps to eliminate distractions and stay focused. It also signifies to everyone else in your home that when you are there you are working. This can be especially helpful to those who are working at home with children who are also completing school work. In addition to a space for work, it is also important to have proper seating at that work space. If you don’t have a good office chair at home, Karen Jacobs, an occupational therapist and certified ergonomist, at Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, recommends placing a pillow or rolled up towel behind your back for lumbar support. Or if you are sitting with your legs extended (say with a laptop) stretch your legs long to increase circulation. Whatever position you are sitting in, make sure you get and move around often to prevent back, neck or shoulder pain.
Best Practice #2: Have set “office hours.”
Since you are always at your “office,” it means you are available to work any time day or night. While it is nice to have flexibility in your office hours, be wary of being “on” all hours of the day. A 2019 survey by Airtasker states approximately 29% of telecommuting respondents said they had a hard time maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Business News Daily states many people have found success balancing working at home using the Pomodoro Technique which follows the following method.
Choose a task.
Work on it for 25 minutes.
Put a check mark on a sheet of paper after the 25 minutes are up.
Take a five-minute break.
After every four time periods, take a longer break.
Continue this throughout the day until your workday is over.
When you are done for the day, act as though you are leaving the office.
To help, we've added our favorite little checklist for you to download and use!
We've set this up 3 to a page so you can simply print it out, make as many copies as you like and cut it apart. We staple them in stacks–it doesn't have to be fancy because you'll go through a lot. Or, if you would like us to print these and glue them into notepads of 25 or 50 sheets to a pad, we are happy to help! Email us here.
Best Practice #3: Get dressed for the day.
While it may seem easy to stay in your pjs all day, it is good practice to get yourself dressed for the day before you go to work. By changing out of our pajamas into more professional clothes it changes our mindset and gets us mentally prepared for the work day ahead of us. For most of us that happens when we get in our cars and drive to our place of employment. When our new office is just a few feet away from where we eat breakfast, switching into “work mode” can be trickier. “Working in your pajamas may seem like fun for a couple of days, but you’ll soon find any productivity wanes,” writes Joshua Duvall, an author at Last Minute Writing, “Our bodies appreciate the comfiness of our bed wear, and consciously or unconsciously, our minds react to this comfortability by shutting down the practical parts of our brains.”
While work-from-home may only be for a limited time, it is important both physically and mentally to create some structure to make sure your tasks are accomplished and you are able to have some down time as well.
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