Working from home can be a fantastic way to keep your income from dropping during the COVID-19 pandemic. But not every job can be done from home. If you are one of the lucky ones, you want to make sure that you create the right space to create a healthy environment between your home office and your kids’ home school. Here are some tips for creating a workable office or school environment.
1) Establish Your Designated Space
While this may be a challenge if your home workspace is small, having a designated space is vital to your productivity. You will be able to find your things more readily, which can decrease stress. Having an area with a door would be ideal so you can block out the noise during conference calls.
There’s a tendency to work longer hours when working at home as home and work all blend together. Try to keep in mind your health and wellbeing
2) Get an Appropriate Office Table
Your workspace should have a table at the right height so as not to give you back pain. Having an appropriate height for your monitor or laptop screen will prevent getting shoulder, neck and back pains that often trigger headaches and require a trip to the chiropractor and masseuse. The couch may be an excellent place for surfing the internet while binge-watching Charmed for the eighth time, but it is not the ideal place to work.
For the kids, they may need a large table like a dining room table where they can spread out their notes and books. For older kids, they may retreat to their bedrooms. Set up a table for them if they don’t already have a study table. This will allow them to be ergonomically comfortable.
3) Build your Tech WorkSpace
If you can bring your laptop and monitors from work, that’s ideal. Having the opportunity to use the tools you have from work will allow you to maintain the same productivity level. If your home computer is much slower, your productivity will decline. At home, you will already be exposed to so much more distractions with kids at home, so not having the proper tools will be debilitating for your productivity and frustrating.
4) Have the Right Peripherals
Laptops, netbooks, Chromebooks, and iPads are great for portability but not for daily use. However, you can add peripherals to your computer to help maximize your space and the ergonomic value of your supplies. Adding a larger monitor, additional keyboard, and physical mouse can help you maintain good visual and mental health during your time at home. You can also use mousepads and keyboard pads to help with wrist positioning if you start to get a little lazy with your posture.
5) Assess your WiFi Needs
Because of all the bandwidth being used at home for work and school, you may need to upgrade your internet to a higher speed. If you live in a dense area (like downtown) or in a rural area, your internet may be even more impacted because of the number of people accessing broadband at the same time. If your employer or the school has a subsidy for this, take advantage of it. Having a slower speed internet will be very frustrating and counter productive for everyone using it.
6) Buy a Sturdy Chair
A good chair can make all the difference in the world. Ensure that you can sit with your back straight and feet on the floor to maintain good posture. Posture can help with the physical symptoms of stress. Back pain and muscle tightness are often due to poor posture, and a good chair can help correct this problem. An exercise ball can also help force you to sit straighter if you want to add some exercise to your day as well. If you need to put a stool under your feet to keep proper circulation throughout your legs, you can pile books or use a milk carton if you don’t have proper stool.
7) Stay Healthy
Walk around while on the phone; do squats while emailing; take a five-minute walk each hour or so. If your home has multiple bathrooms, choosing a different one for each bathroom break can add steps to your day. Since you do not have a commute, consider walking or running during your usual “evening commute” time. If you do not want to spend your entire “commute” time running or walking outside, consider finding youtube segments on other activities like yoga or HIIT (high intensity interval training) that you can do for 10-20 minutes a day in your little space.
What does this have to do with your workspace? It’s about optimizing the use of your workspace and time to contribute to good health whether its on the spot (in your home office) or outside.
There are many benefits to working at home instead of the office. You probably save money on gas & time. You probably have more time to focus as long as you can keep the kids in check. There’s a tendency to work longer hours when working at home as home and work all blend together. Try to keep in mind your health and wellbeing and get up once in a while to exercise and stretch. Make sure your have the right tools and the space to maintain your productivity so that both you and your employer will be happy with the transition to remote working.